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Don the Con Opens Coast to Offshore Drilling– Except for the Part Off Mar-a-Lago

2018-01-13

 

We were all saddened to see the headlines: “Trump administration opens 90% of US coastline to off-shore drilling.”   There’s a catch: Don the Con, through his boy Ryan Zinke (Secretary of the Interior), has exempted Florida from the re-opening.  Florida includes Don’s favorite home-away-from-home, Mar-a-Lago, where he can play golf all day and binge-watch Fox News all night.  The stated excuse for exempting Florida, that it is dependent on its “pristine” coastlines to support its tourist trade, and that this needs extra protection, actually applies to the entire West Coast, not to mention all of the Eastern Sea-Board; come to think of it, this reasoning applies to the whole coast on all three sides of the country, even to the Great Lakes.

This change in long-term planning comes at a time when most scientists agree that transitioning away from the wholesale use of fossil fuels for energy and battery-powered cars are just getting their feet under their legs.  No-one believes that our energy future depends on the type of exploration that lead to the Deep Water Horizon disaster: remotely on the sea-bed thousands of feet underwater, down tens of thousands of feet through solid rock, into reservoirs that are so hot and highly pressurized by depth that they can hardly be stopped up again once they are opened.

It’s not worth it, with other, easier to reach deposits scattered everywhere over the world and new technologies able to pinpoint exactly where they are.  Experience shows, however, that giant companies will make the effort and take the risk to go after anything that pencils out at a potential profit.  Government exists partly to put a rein onto profit-making enterprises, a moral restraint if you will.  In the Constitution, that function would have to fall under the clause in the Preamble that states that government is ordained, in part, to “… establish justice …”  We will have to stretch the concept of justice a little here, but preventing or punishing dangerous and exploitative behavior by corporations is surely something a just people would want to do.

This is a sore point with Republicans.  They don’t like regulations or regulatory agencies.  They think that the market will somehow take care of this.  They seem to forget that people were regularly poisoned by foods, drugs, and liquors that were manufactured in the US and sold all over the country before the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906 (“the most consequential regulatory act in US history” (Encyclopedia.com)).

The Oil Pollution Act, passed in 1990 under George HW Bush (“Old Boy” George), stiffened previous legislation that empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent and respond to oil spills; it also ordained a tax on oil that was to accumulate in a trust fund to help pay for clean-ups.  That same year, the Pollution Prevention Act established a national policy that would have “pollution prevented or reduced at the source wherever possible” (Google).  This policy makes the very idea of drilling for oil offshore contradictory because of its obvious risks.  These are Republican acts, passed under Republican administrations twenty-eight years ago.

None of that matters to Republicans now.  They have abandoned their previous “conservative” stance and stare decisis for a radical ripping-out of the roots of our government and a return to the 1880s and 1890’s: a “Golden Age” when capitalists were building their empires and supposedly free white people toiled in filthy factories 12 hours a day while supposedly liberated black people cowered under the lash of the KKK.

 

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