Friday, July 02, 2010

More on the Federal Government's footdragging and interference with the cleanup in the Gulf
Why do we even have the Jones Act in the first place and EPA regulations blocking the best methods of cleaning up oil?
As the government fails to implement such simple and straightforward remedies, one must ask why.

One possibility is sheer incompetence. Many critics of the president are fond of pointing out that he had no administrative or executive experience before taking office. But the government is full of competent people, and the military and Coast Guard can accomplish an assigned mission. In any case, several remedies require nothing more than getting out of the way.

Another possibility is that the administration places a higher priority on interests other than the fate of the Gulf, such as placating organized labor, which vigorously defends the Jones Act.

Finally there is the most pessimistic explanation—that the oil spill may be viewed as an opportunity, the way White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said back in February 2009, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Many administration supporters are opposed to offshore oil drilling and are already employing the spill as a tool for achieving other goals. The websites of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, for example, all feature the oil spill as an argument for forbidding any further offshore drilling or for any use of fossil fuels at all. None mention the Jones Act.
They can deny foot dragging all they want, but the alternative explanations for this all seem disingenuous and cynically calculated for political ends. There should be more outcry from the entire nation, but especially the media.

I'll bet if some of that oil was headed to Chesapeake Bay, there'd be action.


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