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Washington Made Gulf Oil Disaster Worse

Environmental Radicals Push Agenda to Stop Offshore Drilling, According to Jon Basil Utley’s New Article on Reason.com

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Washington’s reaction to the Gulf oil spill has caused greater damage than the spill itself, according to Jon Basil Utley in a new article, The Government's Catastrophic Response to the Oil Disaster at Reason.com. Utley is the associate publisher of The American Conservative magazine, a former foreign correspondent, and a former owner and operator of a Pennsylvania oil drilling partnership.

“possible financial ruin of countless smaller oil companies.”

“Most startling is the news that large boat skimmers could have sucked up much of the spill and cleansed it long before the oil reached shore,” Utley writes. “At the outset of the spill, the Dutch offered skimmer boats with experienced crews that could have handled most of the spill.”

However, Utley relates, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected the Dutch offer because of regulations requiring that 99.9% of the water discharged be free of oil residue. Since this was not possible for the Dutch ship skimmers, their offer was refused. Also, the Jones Act prevented the use of specialized foreign ships because they used non-American crews. Obama could have suspended both rules.

The agenda of the extreme environmentalists staffing the Obama Administration is to “shut down all offshore oil drilling,” also in Alaska, Utley argues, just as they have succeeded in preventing new nuclear and coal generation electric plants.

“Thousands of deep water wells have been drilled successfully without spills,” Utley says. Yet the Interior Department, under Secretary Ken Salazar, has also delayed even shallow oil drilling operations to the detriment and “possible financial ruin of countless smaller oil companies.”

“It would be similar to shutting down all airlines after a single crash. It may be that Salazar and his gang are just so ignorant of business that they think the government can simply shut down the super-sophisticated flow of supplies and personnel and then later restart it like flipping an electric light switch,” Utley says. Meanwhile, Obama has taken months to start up a commission of anti-drilling environmentalists to create new rules for offshore drilling.

“It’s already estimated that it will take two years or longer to get Gulf production back to its pre-suspension level,” Utley writes. “Some 100,000 high-paying jobs are now at risk.”

Utley blames the environmental extremists, so prevalent in Obama’s Administration, for turning what should have been a manageable cleanup into a disaster. He contrasts this failure with policies in Europe, where governments are prepared to deal with oil spills quickly and efficiently instead of to focus on whom to blame and whom to sue.

“Creating scarcity has always been a part of the leftist agenda, on the theory that scarcities create the need for government allocation and controls. One of the greatest threats of the current situation is that Obama’s environmental extremists will use it to impose new onerous burdens on the oil drillers to force them to cut way back on new offshore oil production,” Utley concludes.

See the full article at http://reason.com/archives/2010/07/09/the-governments-catastrophic-r.

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