Bradford Plummer has an interesting blog today over at TNR. He notes that our reaction to the oils spill terrifies him. Well, I’m terrified too.
I do understand the urgent need to reimburse losses for humans and companies who have been affected by this spill. In that respect the Government’s agreement with BP to supply $20 billion to the escrow fund is a start. Yet here we sit, 56 days into the spill, watching in agony, a spectacle of Harvard lawyers, engaged in a dance of legalese over exactly what, why, who, when and how anything should be actually done.
Our Chief of State has become an ambulance chaser.
Perhaps because we did so much to promulgate it, we are not acknowledging what it is, an intended culpable chemical attack on our country, and possibly several others. That is the nature of “risk”.
As local jurisdictions attempt their own rescues and the Coast Guard flails about, groups from locations like ours, from the Solano County’s International Bird Rescue Research Center, have gone to help. (See their page HERE on who else is involved and how you can help.)
Too, the President has announced the last appointees of the “National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling”. It includes several well-regarded souls known in the environmental movement.
However, I’m terrified that our government will not learn the lesson of opportunity in crisis. This is the opportunity to be the world leaders we can be, and end deep water drilling TODAY. Put a permanent cap on imported oils to our current recession reduced use and incorporate a schedule for permanent yearly reduction. Take some of the BP money and use it to retrain oil workers who would have, in the next twenty years, lost their jobs to obsolescence.
Most of all, I’m terrified that we will again undervalue and ignore the true loss of our natural resources. Left brained legal thinking presumes that a list of items damaged is a true quantifier of all that is lost. Yet no matter how extensive the list, it will not be inclusive. In political terms, two years more of presidential place holding will be a long time. In terms of compilation of damages to the Gulf, a two-year evaluation will be a flyspeck.
The current problem is conflict of interest. Despite his global warming pontifications, President Obama is not first an environmentalist. (One wonders how Teddy Roosevelt would have handled this mess.) He is a lawyer, a manager of assets and people-especially as they relate to energy and big business. As such, he needs to be convinced of his course, before he will take it.
In the mean time, as the Presidential ponderings continue, I see no evidence in the news that the BP spill would have failed to happen under a Republican President. I see plenty to suggest Republican culpability and general ennui from the previous terms. Will the USA demand retribution for the loss of natural resources? Will we sue the government as co-conspirators on the attack of the peoples’ properties and natural resources? Will we provide the Brown Pelicans’ and their cohorts counsel?
Does anyone really envision that in two years the Democrats would replace the current bench sitter with another candidate? Do we seriously want another Republican right now? While these are head-splitting thoughts, they are political questions that are really irrelevant to the fundamental problem. What is needed is to speak for the environment first, let our natural resource live in it’s most natural and originally native way. Then, develop a truly green energy policy from that, rather then the other way around. This mess underscores the need to make our voices known now. Our environment was ruthlessly and greedily attacked. If we don’t speak for the environment today, while we are angry, a short two years from now we will look back in shame.
Stop the Drilling!! We don’t need it. Make the Deep Water Moratorium Permanent!!