Last week I noted how quickly Roy Blunt began echoing the GOP talking point that the moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf would cause greater economic suffering in that region than the oil spill that prompted it. He’s still riding that particlar hobby horse, tweeting just three days ago:
Discussing BP oil spill disaster @971FMTalk Obama’s drilling moratorium will kill tens of thousands of jobs.
As an argument against the moratorium, the claim was pretty much without merit to start with – sure, some Gulf states are heavily dependent on the oil industry, but rushing ahead without taking appropriate precautions is what caused this catastrophe in the first place. It’s very likely that if President Bush had not issued his get-the-oil-fast, consequences-be-dammed executive order of May 18, 2001, and Bush appointees, “burrowed” into the Interior Department, had not downplayed risks in reports to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, we would not be struggling to cope with this unprecedented oil spill and its concomitant damage now – damage that goes far, far beyond unemployed oil-rig workers.
However, these considerations are moot. Blunt’s assertion is totally undercut by the simple fact that, in addition to the 20 billion dollar fund to allay damages resulting from the spill, the president got BP to commit to setting aside 100 million dollars to compensate oil workers who are unemployed as a result of the shut-down of previously operational oil-rigs in the gulf. After announcing this agreement, the President added:
I’m absolutely confident BP will be able to meet its obligations to the Gulf Coast and to the American people. BP is a strong and viable company and it is in all our interests that it remains so. This is about accountability.
Let’s see … the President is looking out for those who have been hurt by BP’s negligence – including displaced oil workers – and asking for accountability from BP while he does it … or, as Roy Blunt might prefer to say, he’s “shaking down” an honest mega-corporation that got caught in a “natural disaster.”