May 4, 2010
Taking Advantage of an Oil CrisisBy Brian Sussman
Days after being elected in November 2008, President-Elect Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, spoke to a Wall Street Journal gathering of business leaders and stated that the economic crisis facing the United States is "an opportunity to do things you could not do before."
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," Emanuel said.
And why should we think this administration isn't letting the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis go to waste?
Don't be fooled for a moment. History proves that the Gulf leak is a messy dream come true for hardcore environmentalists -- -many of whom surround Mr. Obama.
Travel back in time to the 1969 oil spill of the coast of Santa Barbara. A Union Oil drilling platform six miles off the coast sprang a leak, allowing hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil to seep into the Pacific and wash ashore. The cameras of the world's media rushed to the scene to focus on oil-coated birds stuck in muck. The newly hatched ecology propagandists soaked it up.
The nation's first outspoken congressional environmentalist, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, immediately flew to California to see the crisis for himself. An anti-capitalism Democrat, Nelson returned to Washington angered at the oil industry, vowing, we're told, "to do something to wake America up."
Nelson's friend, Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich, worked vigorously with the senator to make the Santa Barbara spill a major national issue. Of course, Ehrlich's longtime friend and associate John Holdren is now Barack Obama's handpicked Science and Technology advisor.
Emotions still run high in ultra-liberal Santa Barbara over the 1969 leak. Even today, as black, marble-sized balls of coagulated crude are often found interspersed on the beaches of Santa Barbara, deceptive local activists will direct naïve eyes toward the oil platforms offshore, fervently declaring that capitalism and big oil are to blame for the tar balls on their sand. But this observation is total fraud. There is so much oil just beneath the ocean floor off Santa Barbara that the black gold is constantly seeping into the open waters at a rate of up to 170 barrels per day.
However, thanks to persistent environmentalists, that 1969 event has kept further oil and gas exploration and development off-limits on the west coast to this day.
Twenty years later, in 1989, the Exxon-Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska, creating the largest oil spill in U.S. history. (By the way, at the current rate of flow, the Gulf leak will not surpass the amount of oil discharged in the Valdez accident for about a month and a half.) Keep in mind that the Valdez accident had nothing to do with an oil rig or platform -- it was caused by the extremely poor judgment of the ship's captain.
Nonetheless, the freak accident was successfully used by environmentalists to place massive swaths of Alaska off-limits to the oil and gas industry. It wasn't until 2007, when the Bush administration lifted a long-standing moratorium on drilling in Alaska's Bristol Bay, that oil companies were granted access to begin plans to harvest the 230 million barrels of oil and natural gas liquids -- plus the 6.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- in that remote corner of the Arctic.
However, despite the fact that there have been no leaks, spills, or errors by the oil companies working Alaska since 1989, President Obama reversed the 2007 Bush decision, shutting the lid on the Bristol Bay oil fields.
Now we have the 2010 Gulf spill. Judging by the past, I predict that this crisis will be effectively used by the Obama administration and environmentalists to prevent harvesting fossil resources from the Gulf for decades to come.
Additionally, one has to wonder why team Obama moved so slowly in responding to this situation. Certainly their gross inaction allowed the leak to grow into a full-blown disaster. Just look at the timeline of events (hat tip to deepseanews):
Now we discover that if U.S. officials had followed up on a federal Gulf oil cleanup plan crafted in 1994, it is possible that the spill could have been kept under control and far from land. However, the feds did not have a single cleanup boom on hand. (The booms are made of flame-retardant fabric and have two pumps that push water through its 500-foot length; two boats tow the U-shaped boom through an oil slick, gathering up about 75,000 gallons of oil at a time, and that oil is dragged away from the larger spill and ignited.)
Instead, we've learned that eight days after the initial explosion, officials had to purchase a boom from a company in Illinois.
According the Mobile Press Register,
The foot-dragging Obama administration and inept federal agents have allowed an environmental disaster to fester. The only leader who seems to be taking a proactive stance is Governor Jindal.
Meantime, environmental activists of all stripes will seize this crisis as a greasy, golden opportunity and use it to shut off access to America's natural resources, I predict, for decades to come.
Brian Sussman is author of the new bestseller Climategate: a veteran meteorologist exposes the global warming scam.