Responding to the growing frustration that the government isn’t doing enough and/or is deferring too much on BP to stop the gushing oil, Admiral Allen had this to say:

“They have the eyes and ears that are down there,” the admiral said on CNN’s “State of the Union” television news program. “They are necessarily the modality by which this is going to get solved.”

Yet for all the frustration and chest thumping for government to “do something,” when you boil it down, about the only non-crazy “new” idea is that authorities gather a bunch of smart people and see if they have or can come up with an idea how to stop this thing that hasn’t been/isn’t being tried. As if that isn’t happening. The fact that industry experts on their own blogs don’t seem to have more ideas goes unnoticed; there must be quick solutions, we assume, so there’s blame to be allocated for not doing it.

Only if we’re lucky.

Peter Daou is right that we think Bruce Willis is out there, and through heroic action, he can save us. Next?

The moment to stop this was in the permit stage, and before that, in the planning/EIS approval stage — it’s called the “no project” alternative — and before that, the decision that we should/must lease OCS for deepwater drilling, and way before that in the mindless chatter we call an “energy debate” that assumes there is no realistic alternative to drill more, drill now, drill forever. Drill, baby, drill has been US energy policy for more than a century.

But we don’t know whether this is the only option unless we ask the question. So far, neither our unimaginative President’s Commission nor Congressional oversight hearings are willing to ask the only question that matters. These efforts seem rather intended to limit our thinking, to divert us from asking whether an expanding oil/carbon future is the only serious and plausible path.

Show me a government-sanctioned commission/task force whose mandate is to produce a 10-20-year plan to have a different future, along with a set of credible transition steps for getting from dependence on more OCS drilling to something that makes it not just unwise but unnecessary.

Then tell me what that means for transportation and for the cars we build and how we use them. Tell me what it means for the chemicals we use for everything we carry, wear, sit on and listen to. If we must electrify transportation, from personal autos to mass transit, tell me what that means for the electricity sector, for the plants we build and the fuels they use, and then for the jobs to be lost from no longer extracting and burning carbon. How would we move and where/how would we work and how would we live? Then let’s make a choice, but to give us a choice, you have to present that choice.

America does not have an alternative future from the Gulf horror, based on an alternative energy base, and there are no serious efforts to create one.

There is only a massive, uncontrolled spill, threatening life in and around a huge Gulf, the inevitable and inevitably repeatable result of a lack of imagination and lack of political motivation to think we could be and do something different. It’s insulting when our officials ask us to accept that.

Responding to the growing frustration that the government isn’t doing enough and/or is deferring too much on BP to stop the gushing oil, Admiral Allen had this to say:

“They have the eyes and ears that are down there,” the admiral said on CNN’s “State of the Union" television news program. “They are necessarily the modality by which this is going to get solved.”

Yet for all the frustration and chest thumping for government to "do something," when you boil it down, about the only non-crazy "new" idea is that authorities gather a bunch of smart people and see if they have or can come up with an idea how to stop this thing that hasn’t been/isn’t being tried. As if that isn’t happening. The fact that industry experts on their own blogs don’t seem to have more ideas goes unnoticed; there must be quick solutions, we assume, so there’s blame to be allocated for not doing it.

Only if we’re lucky.

Peter Daou is right that we think Bruce Willis is out there, and through heroic action, he can save us. Next?

The moment to stop this was in the permit stage, and before that, in the planning/EIS approval stage — it’s called the "no project" alternative — and before that, the decision that we should/must lease OCS for deepwater drilling, and way before that in the mindless chatter we call an "energy debate" that assumes there is no realistic alternative to drill more, drill now, drill forever. Drill, baby, drill has been US energy policy for more than a century.

But we don’t know whether this is the only option unless we ask the question. So far, neither our unimaginative President’s Commission nor Congressional oversight hearings are willing to ask the only question that matters. These efforts seem rather intended to limit our thinking, to divert us from asking whether an expanding oil/carbon future is the only serious and plausible path.

Show me a government-sanctioned commission/task force whose mandate is to produce a 10-20-year plan to have a different future, along with a set of credible transition steps for getting from dependence on more OCS drilling to something that makes it not just unwise but unnecessary.

Then tell me what that means for transportation and for the cars we build and how we use them. Tell me what it means for the chemicals we use for everything we carry, wear, sit on and listen to. What does it mean for how we make/use appliances and we build our homes. If we must electrify transportation, from personal autos to mass transit, tell me what that means for the electricity sector, for the plants we build and the fuels they use, and then for the jobs to be transformed from no longer extracting and burning carbon. How would we move and where/how would we work and how would we live? Then let’s make a choice. But to give us a choice, you have to present that choice.

America does not have an alternative future from the Gulf horror, based on an alternative energy base, and there are no serious efforts to create one.

There is only a massive, uncontrolled spill, threatening life in and around a huge Gulf, the inevitable and inevitably repeatable result of a lack of imagination and a lack of political motivation to think we could be and do something different. It’s insulting when our officials ask us to accept that.

Scarecrow

Scarecrow

John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley