While the suits from BP (NYSE:BP), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) sat in front of a congressional firing squad today, I couldn't help but question the whole dog and pony show.
Lawmakers called the plans to handle deepwater oil disasters (which were issued by major oil companies), “cookie cutter” and “virtually worthless.”
Well, clearly Washington's oversight of these drilling operations have been just as “virtually worthless.” Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.
They sit there, looking down on the stone-faced execs, lecturing about responsibility and greed. But who's questioning those in Washington who spent decades turning a blind eye and allowing the oil companies to bypass safety procedures in an effort to get more oil, and get it faster.
The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.
Now tonight, President Obama will address the nation. And it looks like he's really going to talk up the urgency of a clean energy transition.
Here are a few recent comments that I suspect the President will elaborate on this evening. . .
"Beyond the risks inherent in drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth, our dependence on oil means that we will continue to send billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month - including many in dangerous and unstable regions.”
". . .our continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security. It will smother our planet. And it will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk. “
"We cannot delay any longer, and that is why I am asking for your help."
Will tonight's speech light a fire under our complacent asses and force partisan bullies to put aside their own personal, selfish agendas in an effort to support a very necessary clean energy transition?
At the end of the day, most folks will continue to be motivated by cheap gas prices instead of images of oil-soaked pelicans. It's a sad commentary on our value system – but it's a reality.
And in Washington. . .well, it's politics as usual.
In fact, just today, a couple of House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation to lift the six-month ban on offshore drilling starts, claiming that if it continues, it will be a devastating blow to the economy of Louisiana and other Gulf states.
I guess waiting until we've figured out why this last spill happened doesn't take priority.
You think Louisiana's economy is going to be hurt by this six-month moratorium? I can assure you, it's peanuts compared to the economic damage that'll be done if we see a repeat of this BP disaster.
Don't kid yourself. If there was a problem with one, there's a problem with another. And based on what we're hearing now about all the shortcuts that have been taken and the lack of responsible regulatory oversight by our holier-than-thou lawmakers in Washington – only a complete scumbag would recommend risking more or our natural capital in the Gulf right now.
Supporting this questionable legislation, Representative Pete Olson from Texas said. . .
"It would take a minimum of 5-10 years to get production back to normal operations should these rigs leave."
Yeah, well it could take anywhere from 30 to 50 years for our ecosystem services (i.e. - cycling of nutrients and water, control of pests and diseases and the maintenance of biodiversity) to stabilize again.
Sorry Pete, but the security of these free, natural, and self-regulating services that we need to survive are more important than the short-term impact of a six-month ban on offshore drilling starts.
By the way, since 2008, Pete Olson has landed $216,300 from the oil and gas industry.