Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
We all remember the disaster that was the Gulf Oil Spill and counting the thousands of gallons of crude oil spewing into the Gulf. Despite the rhetoric of right-wing blowhards this spill was an economic, ecological, and governmental disaster for our country. The previous Administration allowing the Oil companies to write their own regulations proved to be a disaster as with every idea Republicans had for governance. Now, as the Obama Administration lifts their moratorium one can only hope that they are not making the same mistake.
Ken Salazar today lifted the drilling moratorium after claiming that the administration had made "significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling":
"We have made and continue to make significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters on a conference call early Tuesday afternoon. Therefore, he said, "I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set."
This after months of pressure from the oil and gas industry and other businesses and officials from effected areas:
The administration imposed the moratorium after the blowout of a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, which led to the largest maritime oil spill in American history. Since then, the White House has come under intense pressure from the oil and gas industry and from regional officials and businesses, who have complained about the economic impact of the moratorium, which was originally set to expire on Nov. 30.
While the loss of jobs and economic impact on these areas are bad, especially now I can only be struck with one thought. First, the oil and gas companies have a lot of nerve saying anything. If not for their own greed and attempt to cut corners this disaster would have not happened. This spill showed the real need for regulation in their industry.
As for the officials and companies in the area I can only say this. As if the needless loss of life of your own neighbors was not bad enough they need to realize one thing. In an industry that is so dangerous for not only those who work in it, but in implications for our whole planet their is quite simply a need to do things right. The oil companies have shown they simply do not care to and will not if it means less money in their pockets no matter who dies and what gets befouled. This simply cannot go on. If it means loss of jobs and income until the global population as a whole is safeguarded then so be it.
And while the administration lifted the moratorium, one would hope that those safeguards will definately be included in the new safety regulations inacted:
The administration has been working on regulatory changes meant to improve safety, oversight and environmental protection standards in offshore drilling. Nearly two weeks ago, the Interior Department issued new rules governing topics like well casing and cementing, blowout preventers, safety certification, emergency response and worker training.
And one can only hope that before new permits are issued and drilling is resumed that our government officials assigned to regulate these activities will not be bought off like in the previous administration. One hopes they will do their jobs and provide real inspection and regulation to an industry that has quite frankly had one sorry record of protecting its people, country, and equipment from disaster if it means cutting into profit.
As always I say the real solution to all these problems is investment in and development of the fuels of the future. Fuels that can be grown and refined right here in middle America creating high-paying jobs in a promising new industry that will make an outdated one obsolete and bring our country and indeed the world into a promising new century of innovations.
To do so we need to simply get back to an America that believes anything can be accomplished. If we use our ingenuity and work ethic to lead once more instead of figuring out how to bring back old world Europe in America, the sky is the limit and we can move away from the failed industries of the past that have run their course.