Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oil Moratorium

Hooray for the President and Secretary Salazar for reinstituting the offshore oil moratorium for the next five years. One of the things the Secretary said in his press conference was something that my former employer (southern environmental law center) had emphasized: the oil and gas companies have thousands of leases that they have not yet exercised. There's no need to open up new areas right now, especially as we are still reeling from the results of the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

An October 12, 2010 Washington Post article showed how politics drove the opening of the mid- and south-Atlantic to oil drilling during the Obama Administration. It also repeated some of the misconceptions that the President and the Secretary had about the risks of offshore oil. For example, they had stated categorically that no oil had been spilled from rigs during severe weather events. Yet the Department of Homeland Security and NOAA had reported oil spills from rigs during Katrina and Rita -- Approximately 8 million gallons of spilled oil in comparison to 11 million gallons spilled during the Exxon Valdez.

The President did the right thing, although I'm sure we'll hear more from the oil and gas industry in the next Congress. Sphere: Related Content


Well, yes, I got over the election but November flew by. Although retirement brings more time, sometimes life takes over regardless of whether you're "working" or just hanging out.

Back to politics: the President is correct. Like him, I don't like the tax cut for the rich, but politics is the art of compromise, and as he explained - politics is not for the ideologically pure: if you want to get something done, you have to compromise. In this case, the compromise will allow unemployment benefits to be extended along with the extension of the tax cut.

If the American public doesn't like the tax cut, they should be telling that to their representatives and senators. Instead, collectively, the public elected a much more conservative House of Representatives (taking office in January) that won't raise any taxes and possibly will be less likely to compromise.

When I was first in politics, I used to think compromises were bad -- one needed to stand by principles. But deadlocks occur, you're in the minority and you don't get any of your goals accomplished. I can understand that senators and representatives from more liberal areas may object, but they ought to see the bigger picture and be able to explain it to their constituencies. A lot of their colleagues got defeated recently because they were too "progressive" -- they voted for the cap and trade bill or health reform or the stimulus package or wall street reform. In the long run, I think the public will be glad we have the last three and I hope eventually that some type of climate change legislation will pass -- But probably not in the next two years.

Politics can surely break your heart and November was a bad month for progressive politicos, myself included. But like Bill Clinton, Obama will rise and man, he has done the things he said he would do -- and is still trying. Sphere: Related Content