Remember those wonderful days of yesteryear- 2008 to be exact- when "Tea Party" was something little girls did with their dolls and "birther" was just bad English? There was a new mantra being heard throughout Red State America and in the Presidential campaign.
Check the videos to refresh your memory.
Drill Baby Drill!
And drill they did. Oil companies continued to tell America, and the world, of the relative safety and efficiency of offshore oil drilling. We were (and still are) a nation way too dependent on foreign oil and weak on alternative sources of energy. And one of the reasons Barack Obama got the votes of environmentalists was his opposition to expansion of offshore drilling during the presidential campaign.
But something happened during the early part of 2010. The President caved. He decided out of the blue to allow and expand offshore drilling. That's right- he adopted the position of John McCain and Sarah Palin- he wanted to allow offshore drilling in a move that seemed to be designed to score political points with more conservative and independent voters.
And most progressive bloggers gave Barack a pass.....because we like him. Its that simple.
I'm as guilty as the next guy. But the 24 hour news networks, the guys who were supposed to be asking tough questions to the administration about this move, did anything but. Nobody seemed to ask if this decision would present even more dangers to the environment. The political angle was played backwards and sideways, with no thought given to any long term effects.
Click below to see an incredible montage from MSNBC and CNN about the President's decision. I think FOX was busy that day covering a Tea Party somewhere. Video fromThe Huffington Post.
Sometime tonight a massive oil spill will hit the Louisiana coast on or about the Mississippi River's delta. Its estimated that a broken well that exploded last week is spewing 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. BP's Deepwater Horizon was drilling in 5,000 feet of water 40 miles offshore last week when it blew up, with eleven crew members missing and presumed dead. Attempts to burn off the oil haven't been entirely successful, nor have any attempts to close the well. Its estimated that as many as 4.2 million gallons of crude oil could spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
And as I type this, the spill is about three miles from the coast of Louisiana. The governor of Louisiana is Republican Bobby Jindal- his state is facing an environmental disaster of epic proportions that will greatly cripple the shrimp and oyster industry, perhaps kill thousands of fish, pelicans, and various shore birds. Neighboring Mississippi and its resort beaches in Biloxi maybe effected as well. Its governor is Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
I wonder if Governors Jindal and Barbour will be chanting Drill Baby Drill at any GOP functions anytime soon?
President Obama has said BP will pick up the tab for the cleanup of the spill. BP can cough up the dough, but they can't alleviate the cost- fisherman, sportsmen, and the tourist industry of the Gulf Coast will be suffering even more in these tough economic times.
It seems the President's decision to expand offshore drilling was more of a political one than an attempt to change our dependency on foreign oil. President Obama pulled an old political maneuver- co-opt the ideas of your opponents to take a few arrows out of their quiver. This week there was to be legislation proposed on climate change, a a bipartisan bill worked on for months by Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham. The legislation had the potential for more green jobs and could create new alternative sources of energy. But the uproar over the Arizona "Show Me Your Papers" Law meant the Climate Bill would be put on a backburner in favor immigration reform legislation. And the Climate Bill was never more necessary as it is now, for energy and for jobs.
Its time for the Obama administration to take another look at expansion of offshore drilling. Maybe the impending disaster in Louisiana is the canary in a coal mine, the wakeup call that will alert the administration and all of our citizens that any expansion of new drilling has to be re-examined. The real cost may outweigh any potential benefits.
In closing, take a look at the following memo from Washington DC.
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.
The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.
The MMS will announce how the agency will proceed with the 2010 SAFE Award program during the next several weeks. The MMS apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks the organizers of the OTC for their understanding of our current situation.
As they say.....in life, timing is everything.