Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gulf Reps. Call for...More Drilling?

By Kate Sheppar
Tue Jun. 15, 2010 3:29 PM PDT

"Even as oil continues to pour into the Gulf from BP's well a mile below the sea, some members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to end the temporary moratorium on new drilling in the region. The group, which 17 Republicans and one Democrat from Gulf coast states, argues that the BP disaster and offshore drilling should be treated as separate issues entirely.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Ted Poe (R-Texas) said that "jobs will be lost, businesses will move someplace else" if the moratorium continues, and introduced a bill that would lift the administration's temporary pause on new drilling and exploration. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

"This is about the Gulf coast and about America," said Louisiana's Charlie Melancon, the lone Democrat at the presser. His district in southern Louisiana has been the most affected by the oil disaster, but is also heavily dependent on income from the oil industry. "We are united in support of responsible offshore drilling … The last thing we need is a moratorium on offshore drilling that would result in thousands of workers laid of." He said while he understands that the moratorium is "well intentioned," it "would deliver a body blow to the economy."

It might seem counter-intuitive that the same representatives from states devastated by the Gulf spill are the ones calling on the government to move ahead full-bore on new drilling. But these are also states heavily dependent on income from the oil industry–16 percent of Louisiana's GDP is from the oil industry. That said, the current ban only affects new drilling and exploration, despite what the representatives argued. Rigs already in production have not been affected by the moratorium." More>>>>

~~~ Oil and gas industry advocates still using the same old arguments. They do not own up to the failed Bush/Cheney policies that laid the groundwork for this disaster -- the largest in American history. The BP spill was a disaster waiting to happen. It did not happen in a vacuum. Inherently, current offshore drilling carries the same risks as when the BP disaster occurred, and is occurring; especially given that the majors seem to have similar emergency response plans and were granted permits by the same dysfunctional national agency.

Consequently, are these advocates willing to accept the risk? If so, then for the BP oil disaster and future ones in waiting, they need not look to beyond themselves to be bailed out or compensated. They need to bear the brunt of the adverse impacts fully.

As parts of the Gulf Coast has federal lands, these advocates would need to also be ready to bring full compensation and restoration to those lands adversely impacted.

Oddly enough, the oil and gas drilling advocates who tend to dismiss the BP disaster as a Black Swan Event, also tend to embrace the privatize profits and socialize losses theory.

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