Hmmm... Just thought you should know this.
Well, isn't this quite the twist of events. Obama was the top recipient of donations from BP in 2008, and it looks like he favored them after all. He let BP's gulf drilling be exempt from an environmental study last year.
The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.
The decision by the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 — and BP's lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions — show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.
The Obama administration?? Unprepared? NEVER!
"The agency's oversight role has devolved to little more than rubber-stamping British Petroleum's self-serving drilling plans," Suckling said.
BP has lobbied the White House Council on Environmental Quality — which provides NEPA guidance for all federal agencies– to provide categorical exemptions more often. In an April 9 letter, BP America's senior federal affairs director, Margaret D. Laney, wrote to the council that such exemptions should be used in situations where environmental damage is likely to be "minimal or non-existent." An expansion in these waivers would help "avoid unnecessary paperwork and time delays," she added.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were talking Tuesday about curtailing offshore oil exploration rather than making it easier. In addition to traditional foes of offshore drilling such as Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez (N.J.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.), Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and centrists such as Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) said they are taking a second look at such methods.
"It's time to push the pause button," Baucus told reporters.
I am just shocked, shocked, I tell you, that the Obama administration would rubber stamp BP's drilling plans!
Now, coincidentally, he's got a ready-made excuse to throw his association with BP under the bus. And Obama also has an excuse to curtail offshore drilling, which is great for him. He was always against offshore drilling and exploration. He only budged on the issue to try to win brownie points with voters. With this oil spill, he can go right back to being ardently against it. How convenient.
I'm not espousing any conspiracy theories or anything — it's more along the lines of the phrase "never let a good crisis go to waste". Democrats who are against further drilling now have a ready-made reason to oppose it. And it gives liberals and radical global-warming lobbyists a perfect excuse to further excoriate drilling and demand alternative forms of energy.
The fact is, offshore drilling is still a critically important national resource and it is actually much safer than getting our oil shipped in from foreign countries, environmentally speaking. Jonah Goldberg points out why stopping domestic offshore drilling could actually be more environmentally unsafe:
It's funny how everyone's against setting policy in a climate of fear — unless the fear produces his preferred policy. The Three Mile Island nuclear mishap in 1979 caused America to stop building reactors for a generation because we let media hype set the policy. It would be a tragedy if we let the same thing happen with domestic oil drilling. Indeed, one irony is that America could stop drilling tomorrow and that would likely increase the number of spills worldwide, given that more environmentally lax countries wouldn't stop their efforts and we'd get more oil via tankers, which are more likely to spill than oil rigs, and the less oil we produce, the more we have to import by ship.
Environmentalists won't care about that, though. They have an agenda to push.
Like it or not, we are still primarily an oil and gas nation. No environmental caterwauling will change that until we have a reliable alternative means of energy, something I don't foresee happening in the next few years.
We need to continue drilling. We need oil. And while this is a horrible tragedy, let's keep things in perspective.
From an environmental perspective, off-shore oil drilling is far safer than Mother Nature. As the Wall Street Journal noted yesterday, oil that seeps naturally from the ocean floor puts 47 million gallons of crude into U.S. waters annually. Thus far, Deepwater Horizon has leaked about three million gallons. That sounds like a lot of oil, and it is. But the Exxon Valdez leaked 11 million gallons into Alaska's Prudhoe Bay. Even those figures are dwarfed, according to the Economist, by the amount of oil spilled in man-made disasters elsewhere around the world. Saddam Hussein's destruction of Kuwaiti oil facilities during the Gulf War dumped more than 500 million barrels of crude into the Arabian Gulf. The 1979 blowout of Mexico's Ixtoc 1 well resulted in 3.3 million barrels being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.
Basically, we all need to calm down on the hyperventilating. Obama, if he actually cares about the good of the country, should not stop further offshore drilling exploration or make current offshore drilling more burdened by red tape.
As for the rest of us, this is just another lesson in what happens when we elect a corrupt, amateur politician with no experience who practices in cronyism and dirty politics.
There's my two cents.