After Obama lifts ban, Feds approve new oil well in Gulf of Mexico today

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 14:35


That any ban on offshore drilling would be lifted last week, as the BP disaster only got worse, is difficult to fathom. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Obama administration did, which today has resulted in the approval of a new offshore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.  Seriously:

Federal regulators have approved the first new Gulf of Mexico oil well since President Barack Obama lifted a brief ban on drilling in shallow water.(...)

Obama has extended a moratorium on wells in deep water like the BP one that blew out in April and is gushing millions of gallons of oil. But the president quietly lifted a brief ban last week on drilling in shallow water.

Ironically, this new oil well was approved not only as the BP disaster continues to unfold, but as President Obama is set to deliver a big speech today at Carnegie Mellon University on the state of the economy.  The speech will also focus on the need to invest in renewable energy and the passage of energy / climate change legislation. For example, here is an excerpt:

The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error - or corporations taking dangerous short-cuts that compromised safety.  But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth - risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes.  Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren.(...)

The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future.  That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy efficient.  It means tapping into our natural gas reserves, and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation's fleet of nuclear power plants.  And it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.

Great. However, while talk of renewables is nice, the actual action coming from the Obama administration on energy today involves approving a new offsore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.  It would be an understatement to say that is a case of the Obama administration sending mixed signals  on the BP disaster and on renewable energy.

Chris Bowers :: After Obama lifts ban, Feds approve new oil well in Gulf of Mexico today

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But wait, does that mean... (0.00 / 0)
... the second time Obama announced a moratorium he was lying then too? I mean, this is twice now. Right after the spill started, they announced a halt to new permits, only to issue 27 more of them. Now this?

I wish I was being sarcastic. Perhaps in the Obama Dictionary, the word Moratorium actually means, "Turn right around and start issuing new permits."

Maybe Obama really does want to be a one-termer, because I'm genuinely baffled at this.


"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


Oh I get it! (4.00 / 1)
Sorry, wasn't paying attention. In the Obama lexicon, off-shore drilling only applies to deep water. Shallow water isn't actually off-shore, it's probably On-Shore With Benefits or something.

Well, that makes it all okay then! Phew. Now I can go back to being sarcastic!

I can't wait for OFA to call again. Pity the poor sod who does it, though.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
Apparently the cut off is 500 feet (4.00 / 1)
http://blog.al.com/live/2010/0...

The exemption from the administration's moratorium on new permits for off-shore drilling will apply to wells in less than 500 feet of water, Salazar said in a Thursday conference call with reporters.  "What we will also do is to require additional safety requirements and additional inspections before allowing them to proceed," he said.

See, no worries. What could go wrong?  


[ Parent ]
Indeed! (0.00 / 0)
The Ixtoc well which spilled for months in 1979 was in 200 feet of water.

I feel better now!

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
re: mixed signal (4.00 / 2)
It would be an understatement to say that is a case of the Obama administration sending mixed signals  on the BP disaster and on renewable energy.

mixed signals?

no, the signals are clear: whatever corporate america wants, it gets

everything else doesn't matter


Was it ever clearer (0.00 / 0)
that working with such corporate whores was a complete waste of time. Screw them. Really.

Here's what he said in his speech (4.00 / 2)
The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future.

Okay, Barack. Or should I call you St. Augustine:

"Lord, Make me chaste, but not yet."

Has any president ever created so much space between his rhetoric and his actions?  


This Gives Political Incompetence A Bad Name (4.00 / 3)
Seriously.

I thought we DFHs were the ones who were supposed to be totally clueless about such things.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


umm... uhh... buuu... (0.00 / 0)
Hmmm.

You Can Say That Again! (0.00 / 0)
And then you can say it backwards!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
look at the timeline (4.00 / 1)
This well wasn't even proposed until after the disaster.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

Ok at what point... (4.00 / 4)
Can a good progressive just finally say "You know maybe this president is not what I had hoped for!" and not be made to feel like a traitor.  

I am really so done.  I can not be the only one.  


For me, that was a year ago in February. (4.00 / 2)


"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
For me, that was December, 2006 (0.00 / 0)
Here: "Obama vs. ISG: Yes Blood For Oil!"

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Is the point here that this amounts to bad messaging? (0.00 / 0)
If so, fair enough.

But if the point is that it's bad policy to open new shallow water offshore oil wells, then it needs to be pointed out what the alternative is: namely, that we get more of our oil from places like the Canadian tar sands, which are the site of an environmental disaster perhaps on the scale of the BP oil spill, and the Niger delta, where BP-scale spills happen every year, year after year, albeit without the media attention of the GOM disaster.

As ever, the only solution is to ween ourselves off our addiction to oil. As ever, there is little to so sign that we are willing to make that commitment.


Where we get our oil from is immaterial for one simple reason: (4.00 / 2)
All of the oil that is pumped in the US goes on to the global oil market. All of it.

So we'll still be using the tar sands, the Saudis et al... In other words, whether we keep being a nation of morons or not about drilling has nothing to do with where our oil comes from. All our oil is bought and sold on the global market.

So when Barack "To Drill Or Not To Drill, That Is The Question To Which I'll Defer to Dick Cheney On" Obama talks about our energy independence, he's talking out of his A$$.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
I thought the Apollo Alliance was a good idea, (4.00 / 1)
but the Republicans wanted Van Jones' scalp so that's that.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
The company (0.00 / 0)
BP may have screwed up the job but it did have the resources to take care of it.  It chose not to.  This well is being drilled by a subsidiary of some British company that is almost a start-up.  They don't have billions.  Does this sound like a way to avoid liability?

Has Any Politician Ever Lost Because... (0.00 / 0)
...they sided with big oil over renewable, clean energy?   Certainly, having an overall green "image" is an asset for many politicians -- especially in the Pacific Northwest.  For what seems like forever, however, politicians in places like Texas and Louisiana have competed to see who can be the most pro-oil and until that dynamic changes it's hard to see how we really make the clean energy transition.  Is politics destined to be a leading or lagging indicator?

BP bused in 100s of temp workers for Obama visit, state official says (0.00 / 0)
BP bused in 100s of temp workers for Obama visit, state official says

Fri May 28, 6:46 pm ET

Perhaps you saw news footage of President Obama in Grand Isle, La., on Friday and thought things didn't look all that bad. Well, there may have been a reason for that: The town was evidently swarmed by an army of temp workers to spruce it up for the president and the national news crews following him.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP  bused in "hundreds" of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said.

"The level of cleanup and cooperation we've gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today," Roberts said by telephone. "As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home."

Roberts says the overnight contingent of workers was there mainly to furnish a Potemkin-style backdrop for the event - while also making it appear that BP was firmly in command of spill cleanup efforts.

New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU reports that the workers were paid $12 an hour and came mostly from neighboring Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

News of 11th-hour spruce-up brigade spread rapidly Friday afternoon and infuriated locals. One popular radio host, WWL's Spud McConnell, suggested that the Coast Guard and the White House may have been involved in setting up the "perfect photo op."

"Who else has the kind of authority to bring a bunch of strangers to Grand Isle when the president is in town for a visit? You think they did background checks on all those people?" wondered McConnell. "I'd be a lot less upset about this if they would have at least stayed to clean the beach."

Yahoo! News could not reach BP for comment.

- Brett Michael Dykes is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.

--

####

SILLY ME...I saw the videos of his visit..and thought (like maybe others did also)..the beach doesn't look bad at all. In fact, it really looks beautiful!!!


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