The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one.
The industry and its well-paid allies say that delaying drilling will increase America’s dependence on foreign oil. That ignores a simple truth: A nation using one-quarter of the world’s oil while controlling only 3 percent of the world’s known reserves cannot drill its way to independence. The estimated 7.5 billion barrels the eastern gulf and Atlantic coast are thought to contain are just about what this country consumes in a year.
In January 2009 during his inaugural speech, newly elected President Barack Obama stated,
It is unfortunate that this promise has been forgotten in response worst environmental disaster in US history.
The Obama adminstration has repeatedly tried to down play the impacts of the gulf oil spill, including faking a swim in the Gulf, only to be repudiated by independent scientists.
Today’s Congressional hearing revealed yet another insult to science.
After Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a White House briefing on Aug. 4 that “at least 50 percent of the oil that was released is now completely gone from the system. And most of the remainder is degrading rapidly or is being removed from the beaches.”, scientists from several universities, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, University of Georgia and University of South Florida, amongst others, countered that the statement was unsubstantiated and not true.
Today , a senior U.S. scientist rescinds previous claim that 3/4 of oil from spill is gone, says most is still there. Lubchenco appears to still be in spin mode. I hope that fact that most of the oil remains in the Gulf and continues to threaten the ecosystem also makes the front page of the NY Times.
So much for restoring science to it’s rightful place. Very disappointing.