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Sen. Landrieu: The Gulf, the Gulf, the Gulf is on fire… May 21, 2010

Posted by Jamie Friedland in Congress, Media, Offshore Drilling, Politics.
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The Gulf is literally burning, BP’s lies are slowly being exposed, and containment attempts have been delayed again.  Just another day after Deepwater Horizon.  I wasn’t going to write anything today until I saw this:

“Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is urging the Obama administration to lift the shallow-water moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico established after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon began a massive oil spill.” E&E Greenwire, 5/20/10 (subscription required).

You know how if you accidentally touch a hot stovetop, you pull your hand away before you even think about it or feel the pain?  That’s a spinal reflex.  Your body acts before the info even gets to your brain because the appropriate response is just that simple, obvious and necessary.

Mary Landrieu just responded to a burning hand by throwing her face down on the stove next to it.  Oh, and she’s throwing ours down too.

I wrote yesterday that crises like the ongoing oil catastrophe are also rare opportunities for needed legislative reform.  Landrieu agrees:

“This is the time to ask the country to understand the need for revenue sharing.” E&E Greenwire, 5/20/10 (subscription required).

No. No. No.  As I explained last week when a House Republican made this same despicable proposal, “revenue sharing” is the legislative mechanism through which Big Oil buys off coastal states, with taxpayer money, so that they will accept the now obvious risks of offshore drilling. Unless such proposals explicitly require that all “shared revenue” (federal money gifted to states in leiu of Big Oil paying them off personally) will be earmarked for disaster mitigation or preparedness, it is a grotesque money grab and coup for the oil industry.

"...we don't need no water..."

But Landrieu takes it a step further.  She may try to add the proposal to the emergency supplemental appropriations bill scheduled for next week so that these needless billions of dollars could be exempt from pay-go restrictions.

Just so we’re clear, Landrieu is trying to bribe coastal states with taxpayer money to accept more offshore drilling – AND make sure that those bribes increase the deficit.

Yesterday I was concerned we might waste this opportunity.  Sen. Landrieu is trying to make sure we actually exacerbate the problem.

Landrieu is acting as if our country must offset its halted deepwater drilling with shallow water production.  This is not at all the case.  I have said this before, but if we are going to have this national conversation again, it is imperative that we use the FACTS this time:

  1. Domestic drilling CANNOT lower oil or gas prices.
  2. We just don’t have enough domestic oil to make a difference.
  3. Offshore drilling is ALWAYS a dirty, dangerous risk.
  4. Drilling is NOT a short-term venture (“drill now” is deceitful).
  5. “American” oil does not help America.
  6. “All of the above” is not a solution.

A cited, detailed description of each of these FACTS is available here.

Finally, in the interest of fairness and balance, the blighted dogma of modern journalism, allow me to present Landrieu’s defense:

“The ban on deepwater drilling — in water deeper than 1,000 feet — should continue while the incident is investigated, Landrieu said. But she sees no reason to block shallow-water drilling, and she says it’s hurting smaller oil and gas companies.” E&E Greenwire, 5/20/10 (subscription required).

Those poor mom and pop oil companies.  It is supposedly on their behalf that Senate Republicans continue to block higher oil spill liability caps.  Sadly, the Obama administration has backed them on this.  I don’t exactly support (or really care about) consolidation in the oil industry, but if a company of any size cannot clean up after its potential mess, it shouldn’t be engaging in that activity.  If companies can be empowered with the same rights as people, they should have the same responsibilities as well.

I’m glad we’re dealing with Blanche Lincoln.  Can Mary Landrieu be next?

Full list of oil spill questions and answers here.

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