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.”
Tonight President Obama eloquently elaborated on the lessons that we need to take from the disastrous gulf oil spill – lessons that apparently are way over Roy Blunt’s head. Blunt, simple soul that he is, professed via twitter that:
I was stunned to hear the president use the BP oil spill disaster as an opportunity to push for his job-killing national energy tax plan
It does seem clear that ol’ Roy hasn’t had time to peruse the EPA analysis of the American Power Act:
The Environmental Protection Agency has released its analysis of the American Power Act today, agreeing with independent studies that the legislation would cut energy bills, create jobs, and strengthen national security. Most critically, they also looked at the effect of the legislation on the fate of the planet’s climate. Scientists have repeatedly warned that catastrophic tipping points – global species collapse, megadroughts, rapid sea level rise, ice cap destruction – become inevitable as the planet warms more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Quite simply, an American cap on carbon is the deciding factor
Of course, since the EPA has as its mission the protection of the environment, Blunt, like other GOPers and some ConservaDems who have as their mission the protection of oil and coal cronies, might not be inclined to consider the EPA’s expert analysis any time soon.
Nevertheless, when we’ re dealing with a crisis, I’m not sure I want my politicians to spout pre-digested focus group talking points, complete with catchy but empty phrases like “job-killing national energy tax.” I know that it’s got to be so much easier than actually thinking, but don’t we elect these clowns to actually, substantively deal with our problems?