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Barack Obama: “Oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.”

On April 2, 2010, just 18 days before the BP offshore oil spill began and on the day when Obama reversed 27 years of government policy forbidding offshore drilling, Obama made this statement:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want to put out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced. Even during Katrina, the spills didn’t come from the oil rigs, they came from the refineries onshore.

A video clip of Obama making this pitifully incorrect comment upon which his mistaken policy of opening the coasts up to offshore drilling was based, may be seen over at Democracynow. (Please see link above).

"Offshore" Obama’s Bush-like comment was discussed on a recent Democracynow program between the moderators, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracynow, and their guest, Kieran Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Here’s Suckling’s response to Obama’s boneheaded comment:

KIERAN SUCKLING: Yeah, I mean, I think what the President has said here is actually just very, very critical, because he is repeating, and I suspect without even knowing it, the big lie of offshore oil drilling. For decades, the oil companies and the Minerals Management Services have told us, ‘Oil drilling is safe, it’s fine, that’s not where oil spills come from.’ In fact, that’s the basis of not doing any environmental review is, you simply assert it will never be a problem, therefore, you don’t even have to study it. When it’s true that they don’t leak often, but when they do leak, it’s absolutely catastrophic. It’s very similar to nuclear power plants. They don’t often fail, but when they fail it’s catastrophic. And, therefore, you have to plan for catastrophe. You have to do very intensive environmental analysis, not simply say, ’It’s rare, so we can ignore it.’

AMY GOODMAN: Kieran Suckling, what do think has to happen right now?

KIERAN SUCKLING: Well, first off, I think that the President should announce a complete moratorium on all new offshore oil drilling. This three-week time-out is really too little, too late. And it’s very important to do that now because the president, under the urging of Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, has planned to open up new offshore oil drilling in Alaska, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and on the Atlantic coast. And that just needs to end. It’s not safe anywhere, anytime.

Secondly, the president should immediately revoke existing oil permits and especially in Alaska. Shell Oil, this July, has- is going to start doing offshore oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea of Alaska. And if you think it’s difficult to clean up oil in the relatively warm, calm Gulf of Mexico, imagine trying to do this with icebergs and sea ice, twenty hours of darkness in the Arctic oceans. It just cannot be done. If this spill had happened in Alaska, its magnitude would have been ten times worse than has happened in the Gulf.

Then, thirdly, the President should start an initiation of an investigation of Ken Salazar and his role in allowing this to happen. Salazar has been a major proponent of the offshore oil drilling industry. He passed legislation as a senator in 2006 to open up the Gulf of Mexico in the first place to offshore oil drilling. He gets campaign contributions by British Petroleum. And then he walks into this agency he is supposed to reform, and instead of reforming it, pushes it to do even more offshore oil drilling. So Ken Salazar is part of the problem here, not the solution. He should not be doing the investigation of MMS. He should be under investigation for helping to cause this crisis.

Instead of putting Salazar under investigation, Obama has essentially put him in charge of Obama’s investigation of the offshore oil catastrophe. Obama’s environmental mistakes go back far earlier with Obama’s selection of Salazar to head the federal agency that should be protecting the environment.

Here is some background information (from Wikipedia which is thoroughly documented) on Ken Salazar showing why Obama never should have chosen him to be our steward of the environment as Obama’s Interior Secretary:

He [Salazar} took office [As a U.S. Senator (Democratic) from Colorado] on January 4, 2005.

Soon after arriving in the Senate, Salazar generated controversy within his party by introducing Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales and sitting by his side during Gonzales’ confirmation hearings.

In 2005, Salazar voted against increasing fuel-efficiency standards (CAFE) for cars and trucks, a vote that the League of Conservation Voters notes is anti-environment.

In the same year, Salazar voted against an amendment to repeal tax breaks for ExxonMobil and other major petroleum companies.[6]

In August 2006, Ken Salazar supported fellow Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman in his primary race against Ned Lamont in Connecticut.

In 2006, Salazar voted to end protections that limit offshore oil drilling in Florida’s Gulf Coast.[7]

In 2007, Salazar was one of only a handful of Democrats to vote against a bill that would require the United States Army Corps of Engineers to consider global warming when planning water projects.[8]

Several prominent environmentalist groups are wary of Salazar, noting his strong ties with the coal and mining industries. Kieran Suckling, executive director of Center for Biological Diversity, which tracks endangered species and habitat issues states "He [Ken Salazar] is a right-of-center Democrat who often favors industry and big agriculture in battles over global warming, fuel efficiency and endangered species."[19]

Salazar was one of several Obama Cabinet appointees confirmed in the Senate by voice vote on January 20, 2009, shortly after Obama’s inauguration. Salazar became the 50th Secretary of the Interior succeeding Dirk Kempthorne,[a Republican] who praised Salazar’s appointment.[22]

On May 9, 2009, Salazar announced the upholding of a Bush-era policy that prevents the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions via the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a policy he pledged to reevaluate when he took office in January. The policy states that, despite the apparent negative impact global warming has on polar bears, an endangered species, greenhouse gasses cannot be regulated with the ESA.

Salazar stated in a conference call announcing the decision that "The single greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of Arctic Sea ice due to climate change," but the Endangered Species Act "is not the appropriate tool for us to deal with what is a global issue." The decision was met with criticism from environmental groups and praise from energy groups including the American Petroleum Institute...

(emphasis added)

Salazar is Obama’s Brownie.

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