Although President Obama is seeking to move America away from fossil fuels, he was quick to accept responsibility for the oil spill in the Gulf and the incompetence of the Minerals Management Service (MMS).
Many Americans do not approve of the President’s efforts to manage the spill. A CBS News poll found that 45 percent disapproved and 20 percent were undecided. Only 35 percent of Americans surveyed approved of the Obama administration’s handling of the oil spill.
The Gulf oil spill adds fuel to those discontented about the 9.9 percent US jobless rate. With two wars, the recession of 2008 and important legislation pending, the road leading up to the November congressional elections will be a challenging one. Other geopolitical issues will also embolden critics including tensions on the Korean peninsula, in Iran and the Middle East.
Despite the chorus of criticisms, the government is making efforts to manage this environmental crisis. On May 6, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a moratorium on the issuance of final permits for new offshore drilling activity. However, the MMS approved 19 new drilling plans after the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon, all with exemptions from environmental review.
The Obama administration does not appear to be on top of this issue. The definition of the new drilling moratorium has changed so often that even Secretary Salazar appears confused, Salazar incorrectly reported to Congress that all new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has stopped. As it now stands, the moratorium applies only to new permits, but does not effect those who have been issued drilling permits prior to May 6, 2010. Nor does the moratorium preclude the issuance of drilling permits like the one BP was operating under when the Deepwater Horizon exploded.
Although we should move to limit all offshore oil drilling, the spill in the Gulf makes a convincing case for putting a definitive end to all deep water drilling. The sad truth is that many wells are planned or are currently being drilled off US coasts and some of these wells call for deep water drilling even more hazardous than the current leaking well in the Gulf.
The President may have successfully lead the way out of one of the most severe crises of modern times, but those without understanding will use the spill in the Gulf to fuel their rabid resistance to change. If the Republicans do prevail in November Congressional elections, it will impair the President’s ability to deliver on his green promises.
President Obama inherited a host of serious problems from the Bush administration, however, it is Obama’s Presidency that is in jeopardy along with his ambitious green agenda for a sustainable 21st century economy.
The Costs of Offshore Drilling
BP’s Corporate Irresponsibility
Responsibility for the Costs of the Gulf Oil Spill
Managing the Massive Gulf Oil Spill
Offshore Oil is an Avoidable Tragedy
Two More Reasons to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels
The End of Oil and the Next Energy Economy
Reigning in Irresponsible Oil Giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil
The Business of Climate Change Deception
Palin Renews Call for Offshore Oil Exploitation
Drill Baby Drill
The Economic Calamity of Peak Oil
Planning a Future Without Oil
Koch Industries’ Environmental Crimes
Koch Industries Financing Climate Denial
Koch Industries Destroys the Environment & Funds Climate Denial
Protecting the Planet from Corporate Influence