Tea Party and Energy Policy

A Happy New Year 1867, A Happy New Year 1917

After some of the worst man made disasters in modern times, it’s hard to believe that the Tea Party still wants to dismantle regulatory roadblocks to expanded drilling and mining.  I thought “drill baby drill” was the most embarrassing catch phrase to come out of Sara Palin’s mouth and would be put to rest after the BP oil spill that nearly destroyed the Gulf Coast.  I was wrong.  In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, key Tea Party leaders are upset with Republicans for not standing tough during the lame duck session and for not selecting Tea Party members for important leadership positions.  The New York Times referenced an opinion article in Politico in which co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots, Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin expressed disappointment in the Republicans appointee of Fred Upton to head the Energy and Commerce Committee saying that Republicans “are not serious about expanding the nation’s energy producing capability”, which they claim America is desperate to do.  To achieve this, regulatory roadblocks would have to be dismantled and safety concerns dismissed. Is this really what Americans want? Do most favor the reckless plunder of our natural resources with little attention to human and environmental costs? Have they forgotten about the deadly mining and drilling accidents of 2010 that could have been prevented had there been more regulatory oversight? Are Tea Party activists aware of the economic and environmental impact of deep water offshore drilling? Do they know that the fishing industry of the Gulf Coast may never recover from the BP oil spill?  I think they do and they don’t care.   But the Tea Party does care about the special interests of the oil and gas industry whose profits they seem duty bound to protect.

6 Responses

  1. Recognizing the worst disasters in our lifetime means looking at recorded historical facts. What is the aftermath of the Gulf oil leak? How many thousands have died? Has the sea died and given up all signs of life? Has stopping drilling saved anything worth mentioning? Using natural gas and oil energy has elevated us from having Chicago burn down because of oil lamps,, and shoveling horse manure off pedestrian walk ways. Those were the good old days?!

  2. Don’t forget the great molasses spill of 1919 in Boston that could have been prevented with better safety protocols in place. I’m not advocating the return to oil lamps (electricity works just fine) rather, I’m suggesting that the recent drilling and mining accidents were preventable and this is what makes it such a terrible modern tragedy. There’s no need for risky drilling anyway when we have so many alternative renewable energy sources to harness – wind power and solar to name but two. And we Americans should think about reducing our carbon footprints. We have a voracious appetite for fossil fuels that is simply not sustainable. As to the sea giving up all signs of life, I’d just say it’s not only the sea, but the entire fragile ecosystem of the Gulf that we need to worry about. Fishing has not returned to pre-spill levels and may never, and the tourist industry suffered a big blow. To the question of how many fatalities? One death is too many.

  3. Is there still a Molasses inspector general to avoid another catastrophe? Maybe not, so we live in constant peril of another such mishap. “One death is too many” sounds good but means nothing. Everday people die walking to the bus, choking on their hotdog, and not bothering to read their medicine instructions. We cannot prevent death. Hiring 20 more government paper shufflers, and adding 250 volumes of legalese won’t make or prevent another death, but it does make the government seem like it cares. Tourism died in the Gulf of Mexico because the response to the spill was slow, disorganized, and stole equipment from states prepared to respond. Eat some shimp and clams to help our Gulf of Mexico folks. I do.

  4. Molasses Inspector General – I like the sound of that! So we should return to the days of the Wild West? I would rather not live in a lawless society where bullies and thugs rule – where only the fastest draws survive. That person who dies walking to a bus may have been uninsured and died from a heart attack that might have been prevented with proper medical care, but he also might have been struck by a drunk driver, or been the victim of stray bullet from an unregistered gun. The government is not to blame for the BP disaster and in fact did a good job of holding the profit grabbing conglomerate accountable. An uncoordinated response without government involvement would have been foolish. Look what happened to the initial response in Haiti – a bunch of relief supplies piled up at the airport but could not be distributed because nobody was in charge. Volunteers milled about, while people were dying beneath the rubble. One thing we can agree on is this: Eat more Gulf shrimp and clams to support our Gulf friends. I’m all for that!

  5. I remember Obama relying on reports from BP on the disaster until the people in New Orleans were screaming for somebody to help. Then the pr team talked about stepping on BP’s neck, and the money from BP was simply a concession for pr peace and quiet. The inspectors and the approval of flawed drilling safety inspections is directly responsible to government. Nobody got fired, demoted or reprimanded, so we know BP can fire wrong doers, but the government won’t clean it’s own house.

  6. Let’s be realistic here – the Obama administration is not to blame for the oil spill. They weren’t on the scene as quickly as the locals would have liked, but they did mobilize. If you want to criticize the Obama administration, criticize them for promoting offshore drilling prior to the accident. They fed right into that “drill baby drill” mantra, and did an about face only after the disaster. The safety inspections were a joke, but Obama inherited that dismantled function. It takes a while to clean up 8 years of mess the previous tenants left.

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