Friday, April 30, 2010

Spill, Baby, Spill!

It's not often that I am genuinely dissapointed by President Obama. I know many progressives are upset that change is coming fast enough, but I appreciate what he's done in the last 15 months; health care passed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed, Matthew Shepard Act passed, etc.

However, the new plan to open up the east coast and Arctic coast for oil drilling has truly been a disappointment.

Everyone was been reminded this week of how destructive our behavior is when an oil rig exploded of the coast of Louisiana and tragically killed 11 workers. But that was just the beginning of the disaster. The sinking oil rig broke its well, releasing thousands of gallons or crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Today the Coast Guard reported that the well is leaking up to 5 times faster than previously thought and crude oil has begun to wash ashore onto the Mississippi Delta. All this just a few weeks after Obama declared that large swaths of the Southeast and Alaskan coasts should be open to drilling.

President Obama is putting a band-aid on the problem and not solving it. First off, opening up new wells may drive down prices temporarily, but big oil (yes, I'll be cliche) will be back for its profits and not long after drilling begins prices will soon go back up.

Secondly, by driving down energy prices it will make alternative energy less competitive with oil. President Obama said recently, "...We're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy." However, allowing drilling is going to simply feed our addiction and compete with new sources.

Ever hear a smoker say they will quit "as soon as they want to?" That usually means they aren't going quit any time soon. Finally, we are gambling with our irreplaceable ecosystems from Alaska to Florida. We are about to witness what could be one of the biggest oil spills in history, and this time it's in one of the worlds most unique ecosystems, the Mississippi Delta.

Instead of increasing the risk of another oil spill we should be aggressively pursuing alternative energy sources. The recent approval of the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts was a step in the right direction, but more should be done. This impending ecological disaster should be a lesson to the administration, we need leadership from the top to get us out of our dependence on oil. As of now the Obama administration is taking one step forward, one step back.

BREAKING NEWS: President Obama places a hold on new offshore drilling projects pending proper safeguards.


Rabi Abonour said...

Remember: A crack addict running out of crack doesn't need more, he needs rehab. And I am fairly certain rehab centers don't try to ween you off crack.

Offshore drilling is a terrible idea both environmentally and in terms of energy policy. If Obama was going to allow it, he should have held off and gotten something big in return.

ShamRockNRoll said...

I agree. It was bad politics to make such a big concession before negotiating for big returns in wind/solar/green-infrastructure, and puts him in the awkward position of placing his proposal "on hold" because of this accident. Had he not given that away so publicly and this happened anyways it would have strengthened his hand in bargaining for an energy bill without having to give into any offshore drilling. The administration didn't learn their lessons from the recovery act and the healthcare bill where they made concessions too big, and too soon.

Rabi Abonour said...

I just don't get it. Obama clearly knows electoral politics; the election proved that. How can he be this clueless about Congressional politics?

Colleen Lowry said...

I strongly agree that we need to make use of new, cleaner technology, but I do have a qualm with the Cape Wind project. This project has been highly contested because the wind turbines will be placed in the direct view of the sun, which is required for a Native American religious ritual to be performed. There will be dissenters no matter where these turbines get placed, but where do we draw the line between past cultural heritage and future energy independence?

Tim Ryan said...

If the Native American religious ritual makes the Sun God cool out, thus ending climate change, by all means halt construction. Otherwise: wind, baby, wind (I'm trademarking that catchphrase, btw).

Sorry, but I've never really given a crap about political correctness, especially when religion is involved, doubly especially when religion is getting in the way of important progress as it is wont to do. Sometimes feelings have to be hurt.

The so-called "Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound" is fronted by an oil heir hiding behind shaky environmentalism. Cape Wind stands to be a rare energy source that directly offsets petroleum combustion.

ShamRockNRoll said...

I'm all about the Nantucket Sound wind project. It's a good start.

And Tim, I believe the winning catch phrase is, "Blow, baby! Blow!"

Tim Ryan said...

Ah, yeah, that's a lot better.

Christian Sorrell said...

I agree that the offshore drilling thing is simply a band-aid being placed on a larger problem and truthfully, am really surprised that Obama went for it especially after all the Drill, Baby, Drill business with Palin during the election (even now it echoes in my nightmarish thoughts).

I would love to see Obama give some big time incentives/tax cuts or credits to company's looking to further newer types of energy. People always respond better to reward then they do to punishment.

And one more thing:

Wind, baby, wind!