Trying to work on an epically huge, possibly more than I can chew post on prayer, but I’m also distracted by my work laptop being pretty busted up, so it might have to wait til tomorrow.
At least I have a minor tidbit of good news to report (with minimal comments). Via McClatchy, Obama’s remarks on the matter of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe included some choice comments:
I saw firsthand the anger and frustration felt by our neighbors in the Gulf. And let me tell you, it is an anger and frustration that I share as president.
And I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.
It would also help ensure that companies like B.P. that are responsible for oil spills are the ones that pay for the harm caused by these oil spills, not the taxpayers.
This is in addition to the low-interest loans that we’ve made available to small businesses that are suffering financial losses from the spill.
Let me also say, by the way, a word here about B.P. and the other companies involved in this mess.
I know B.P. has committed to pay for the response effort. And we will hold them to their obligation.
I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter. You had executives of B.P. and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else.
The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t.
Now, from the day he took office as interior secretary, Ken Salazar has recognized these problems and he’s worked to solve them. Oftentimes, he has been slammed by the industry, suggesting that somehow these necessary reforms would impede economic growth. Well, as I just told Ken, we are going to keep on going to do what needs to be done.
And so I’ve asked Secretary Salazar to conduct a top-to-bottom reform of the Minerals Management Service. This week, he announced that the part of the agency which permits oil and gas drilling and collects royalties will be separated from the part of the agency in charge of inspecting the safety of oil rigs and platforms and enforcing the law. That way, there’s no conflict of interest, real or perceived.
We’ve also ordered immediate inspections of all deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. And we’ve announced that no permits for drilling new wells will go forward until the 30-day safety and environmental review that I requested is completed.
We’re also closing the loophole that has allowed some oil companies to bypass some critical environmental reviews. And today, we’re announcing a new examination of the environmental procedures for oil and gas exploration and development.
Now, as I’ve said before, domestic oil drilling continues to be one part of an overall energy strategy that now includes more clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency than at any other time in our history.
But it’s absolutely essential that, going forward, we put in place every necessary safeguard and protection so that a tragedy like this oil spill does not happen again.
This is a responsibility that all of us share. The oil companies share it. The manufacturers of this equipment share it. The agencies and the federal government in charge of oversight share that responsibility. I will not tolerate more finger-pointing or irresponsibility.
Do read the whole statement. As long as Obama’s administration follows up on re-regulating the now-unchained behemoth that is the oil industry, and as long as we start pursuing the “future tech” (to borrow the term from Civilization) of clean energy a la solar/wind/geothermal, we might actually stand a chance at fixing the path of humanity to work with the planet rather than against it, for probably the first time since the industrial revolution. Hopefully in time to mitigate the disasters that are impending and maintaining humankind well into the future.