Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deeptrouble, June 22nd, 2010: Right wing judge overturns drilling moratorium

Welcome to the twenty fifth installment of Deeptrouble, an NPI Advocate special series intended to visually chronicle the immense devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Surface ships making their way through oily, polluted oceanToday's photo was taken by the Gulf Restoration Network. It shows a brown, goopy oil-stained marsh in Louisiana.

In a major setback for the response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a Reagan-appointed judge who owns stock in oil companies today invalidated the Obama administration's moratorium on new offshore drilling, describing the administration's half-measures as too broad and overarching:
Citing potential economic harm to businesses and workers, Judge Feldman wrote that the Obama administration had failed to justify the need for such “a blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium” on deep-water oil and gas drilling.

“The blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger,” wrote Judge Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan. The administration’s order halted 33 exploratory drilling projects and suspended new permits, but did not affect platforms that were already in production.
The administration quickly promised to appeal the decision, which was roundly condemned by the environmental community.

Perhaps somebody needs to take Judge Feldman out to the despoiled marshes where oil is wreaking havoc on fragile Gulf ecosystems, and then we can see if he still thinks that merely suspending approval of new offshore drilling is an overreaction. What's really outrageous is that he doesn't seem to be disturbed by the spill. It's causing significant environmental damage in his home state.

In other news...

The number of Americans who are seeking compensation for damages caused by Baleful Petroelum's mess continues to grow. As of today, 69,872 claims have been opened by persons affected, and the total amount of money disbursed stands at $118 million. Both figures will continue to rise in the weeks and months ahead.

Besides continuing to process claims, BP is preparing to bring a third vessel into the vicinity of the site where the Deepwater Horizon was once moored, to assist in containment and collection operations.

It's going to be a long time before the traces of this calamity have been erased from the Gulf Coast. We should use the sights, sounds, and smells of this disaster to motivate us to invest in renewable energy while those sensory inputs are still fresh. It goes without saying that our future is hanging in the balance.


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