Steven Rosenblum for Florida: District 89
More than 50 days after the explosion, fire and sinking of the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon the oil is still flowing out of the ground, more that 5,000 feet below the sea. The finger pointing continues, as does the political posturing.
Some are using this accident as an excuse to end not just drilling in deep water, but to put an end to all offshore oil and natural gas exploration for good. Curiously, there seems to be no realization of some very basic facts:
1. The United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil a day and many who advocate ending offshore drilling also are opposed to drilling on the land.
2. Drilling in shallower water has much less risk and if there is an accident it’s much easier to turn the flow off.
3. The technology to drill in shallow water and on land has been tested over decades and has only improved.
4. If the United States does not drill for its own resources, other nations like Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela will drill for the same oil and natural gas from just outside our territorial waters without regard for safety or our environmental concerns.
5. As matter of national security we need to stop buying oil from nations that do not like us and/or support terrorism.
6. Thousands of Americans are employed by the oil industry and the industries that support it. At a time when millions are unemployed we can ill afford to put the oil industry out of business in the U.S. and send those jobs overseas.
Even the fisherman of Louisiana who have been hit hard by the consequences of this oil spill still want drilling and exploration to continue. They recognize that the economy of the Gulf and the entire nation depend on the oil industry. All that they ask is that the drilling is done in an environmentally responsible and safe manner.
There is blame enough to go around for the accident and its aftermath. The fact that the MMS apparently failed to do proper inspections and failed to ensure that an appropriate emergency action plan was in place seems to put blame on both the Bush and Obama administrations. BP has the lion’s share of the blame as it was their rig. But it’s important to note that it was environmentalists and their Democrat allies in Congress that pushed oil and natural gas exploration into the deep water where techonology is at its limits and the risk of disaster is far greater.
As for the failure to prevent the oil from reaching shore and to contain and clean up the spill, the blame is equally on BP and the Obama administration. Many companies have offered viable plans and technologies to contain and remove the oil from the water- they have been ignored. Several foreign nations that have experience and success with cleaning up large spills have offered help and they too have not been allowed to assist.
There are ships that could have been skimming the oil from the Gulf, almost from the beginning of this disaster, that have not been allowed to and still can’t do so until President Obama temporarily suspends the Jones Act, a law that prevents ships that are not built and crewed by Americans from operating in Amercian waters. This protectionist law which dates back to 1920 was temporarily suspended by President Bush after Hurricane Katrina, but Obama has not seen fit to do the same.
There are American companies that have boom that could have protected the Louisiana marsh lands that have not been allowed to provide their products because BP has not approved it. There are other companies that have simple but effective products like hay and synthetic polymers that could remove the oil from the surface of the Gulf that likewise have not been taken up on their offers to help. These products and solutions would eliminate the use of chemical dispersants that may harm the environment.
What is the motivation of either BP or the Obama administration not to take advantage of all this help? For BP, it would seem there is no good reason not to utilize whatever it can get its hands on. For the administration it would seem they are either incompetent or are following their mantra of “never let a good crisis go to waste”. It’s no secret that the far-left is unhappy with Obama for not putting an end to offshore oil drilling. If the administration lets this disaster go far enough they may feel they’ll have the political cover they need to cater to their base. But even this doesn’t make sense, as polls show that the public is dissatisfied with Obama’s handling of this crisis and blames him almost as much as BP.
We obviously need to find alternatives to oil, such as biofuels made from crops and plants that we don’t use as food for ourselves or our livestock- such as sawgrass. We also should be building nuclear powerplants and finding ways to utilize wind, solar, tidal and ocean current generation for electricity. But you can’t drive your car on these energy sources and like it or not, for the moment our economy is dependent on petroleum.
It’s time to get cut the red tape, clean up the water and the land affected by the spill and find a way to cap the gusher. Meanwhile, we have to move our oil exploration into shallower waters and on to the land in places like Alaska. We need the oil, we have the technology and to do otherwise would only hurt Americans and put our national security in jeopardy.
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