Thursday, July 15, 2010

Obama ignores near universal opposition to the drilling ban

"Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity."
Michel de Montaigne

An ABCNews/Washington Post poll released late yesterday showed nearly three-fifths of the residents in the Gulf Coast opposed Barack Obama's newest moratorium on deepwater drilling.

[G]iven their region's reliance on the oil industry , most residents of the affected counties weren't turning their backs on offshore drilling. By 60-38 percent, they opposed the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on drilling (it got far more support nationally); and more, three-quarters, said drilling should resume at its existing level, or be expanded, in the future.

While that is a huge margin, it bears noting that the poll was only conducted among residents of the area most affected by the spill and accordingly, most affected by a moratorium on oil and gas drilling. Is El Presidente listening?

Would he listen to a powerful Senator from his own party? U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-LA spoke yesterday during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce jobs summit and said the moratorium on floating rigs would be particularly damaging, because the rigs can be moved anywhere in the world:

The floating rigs are "some of the best rigs in the world, idle at $500,000 a day at a minimum," Landrieu said. "They're not going to stay idle until November 30."

She argued that driving away the rigs would not only have a negative economic impact for the United States, but also a negative environmental impact for the world, since the rigs would be sent to countries with fewer regulations and weaker court systems.

"If there's an accident like the one that happened... the ocean's in worse shape" if it occurs elsewhere, she said.

While she said she wants drilling to continue, Landrieu said she isn't sure about trusting BP.

"I'm going to put BP on notice, but the regular industry, I think, can be trusted," she said.

I disagree with Ms. Landrieu on almost every other issue, and her shamelessness in the Louisiana Purchase debacle during the sausage-making of the healthcare legislation stands out as an example of what's wrong with the American political class.

On this issue however, she is dead right.  The Niger River Delta is being fouled by an oil spill that dwarfs the Deepwater Horizon Incident.  Venezuela routinely seizes drilling rigs owned by private companies, but The Republic of Congo is ruled by a socialist authoritarian regime that makes Hugo Chavez look as tame as Barack Obama.  Guess where some of the Gulf rig fleet will go, if the uncertainty of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico isn't immediately dealt with?

Put BP on a Deepwater Horizon just off the coast of East Africa, and you would have an oil spill disaster of biblical proportions, and there would be absolutely no effective law enforcement or judicial system in place to force the kind of effort underway off the coast of Louisiana.

Is the President listening?

Would he listen to the opinions of his absolutely first-class, sterlingly credentialed Deepwater Horizon Presidential Commission?

It only took two days of testimony for the leaders of the president's oil spill commission to grasp how devastating the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling is for Louisiana's economy, and to call for it to be lifted sooner.

[Republican] William Reilly, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that Gulf Coast business owners and elected officials who spoke at hearings in New Orleans this week had changed his outlook. "I come to this experience with a much greater sense of the economic dislocation being experienced here than I had three days ago," he said.
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, the panel's [Democrat] co-chairman, said he was disturbed by a "disconnect between Washington and the Gulf region about the sense of urgency needed."

Louisianians have been disturbed by that disconnect for weeks, and it's a relief that the message is finally getting through to people who might have some influence on the Obama administration, which is clinging to its blanket moratorium.

The only entity to which this regime has paid attention has been the federal courts, and the only reason the regime paid attention to them was because those courts dragged them, kicking and screaming like spoiled brats, into the real-world where real jobs are being lost and real economic damage is being done.

Obama should listen to the people, listen to members of his own caucus and listen to the supposed experts he hand-picked to look into the spill's causes and effects.  But apparently, he's too much of a stubborn, narcissistic ideologue to listen to anyone but himself.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.


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