Politics

Truths About the Oil Spill

There are some truths about the Gulf oil spill that must be considered when addressing this calamity.

While there is no doubt the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill is a major disaster, it should not mean the end of off-shore drilling.

And the slowness of the government response is a disaster of epic proportions.

First, where to drill.

President Obama says we are drilling so far out to sea because the close-in resources have been tapped. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are drilling so far out because of the short sightedness of politicians, including Republicans like Florida Governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

These Republicans caved to bad information about drilling off their states’ coasts. They wanted to be liked by environmentalists. With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats and environmentalists to derail our energy independence?

We are drilling in deep water, where it’s extremely risky, because in the safer places to drill, such as ANWR, closer to shore along the coast and much of the vast expanses of federal lands in the West, the federal government has placed restrictions preventing energy development.

The BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill isn’t a reflection of not enough regulation. We have 300 pages of regulation. It is a reflection of unenforced regulation.

The people put in charge of the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service were academics appointed by the Obama Administration with little to no experience in the real world. And where is President Obama, other than his “Clinton walking the beach picking up a rock” moment last weekend. He seems unconcerned with the whole thing. Mr. Cool doesn’t have the answers. And if anyone believes one of the first daughters asked Daddy,
“Did you plug the hole, yet?” as he shaved, I’ve got some barrier islands in Louisiana I could sell you.

This oil spill should not be a condemnation of “Drill Here, Drill Now.” This disaster supports “Drill Here, Drill Now.” It is safer to drill off shore in shallow waters and on land in the U.S. than to buy oil from foreign sources and have it shipped to us. I talked to a very high ranking congressman and he said, “How do we advocate ‘Drill Here, Drill Now’ now?” It’s easy, be armed with the facts. Stand up and don’t let the emotion lead the debate.

Meanwhile, the federal response to the spill has been nothing short of abysmal. In the five states impacted immediately (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida), we’ve seen executives at work.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has shown he is a can-do executive while the feds are doing little but getting in the way. Jindal talks of “useless meetings” lacking action. The Obama Administration seems to be hung up on having the “best minds” looking at this but they can’t give Gov. Jindal an answer on the best option: dredging sand and making a barrier to keep the oil away from the coast. He asked for that weeks ago and has gotten only limited approval. Limited approval? This is not a limited disaster.

It shouldn’t take the Army Corps of Engineers weeks to approve the sand berms, they should have gotten the equipment to the coast right away.

We can’t change what’s happened but we can act now. Work with Jindal in the lead; don’t have more meetings with the likes of the Atty. Gen. Eric Holder. There will be a time for “useless meetings,” as Gov. Jindal said. Now is the time for action.

But before White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gets us all riding bicycles to work, let’s look at the real truth about this spill. Roy Spencer, former NASA scientist, author of Climate Confusion and research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, took a historical look at the oil spills in the world. Spencer is the “official climatologist of The Rush Limbaugh Program,” but most importantly, his research at UAB Huntsville is not funded by corporations.

Spencer took into consideration what BP says they were pumping daily from the well, which was 15,000 barrels a day and the actual numbers on the historical spills. The largest oil spill, deliberately set in 1991 by Iraqi forces, was an estimated 500 million gallons. The second largest spill occurs every year in leakage from tankers and ships, estimated at 250 million gallons a year. The third largest was the only other spill from a rig—in Mexico in 1979 (IXTOC)—at less than 150 million gallons. Exxon Valdez was way down the list at less than 50 million gallons. BP/Deepwater Horizon is also less than 50 million gallons but still gushing.

We are a long way from the worst spill in history and it’s clear that most spills occur from shipping oil, not drilling it. Granted, if we don’t get that thing tapped, it could be worse, but we are not there yet. 

It’s been said, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” Let’s use it to our advantage for a change. Lets use this to educate about the facts of drilling. I know with the 24/7 “spillcam” going all the time, “Drill Here, Drill Now” advocates think they can’t talk about drilling, but this is the perfect moment. Spread the facts and don’t stop telling them. Drilling for oil in America is safe. Let’s fix this and then move close to shore and on land and “Drill Here, Drill Now.”

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