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The Montreal Review, April 28, 2010


Politicians and oil companies resolved to continue offshore drilling.



"The president Barack Obama has no plans to reconsider his proposal for new offshore oil drilling," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said last Friday (April 23, 2010). "We've taken swift action to ensure the safety of those that are there [on the Transocean Ltd Deepwater Horizon oil platform in Gulf of Mexico, located 80 km offshore of Louisiana, that exploded on April 20, 2010] and to ensure the safety to the environment by capping the exploratory well," Gibbs said. He added that America needs to increase its oil production and "the president still continues to believe the great majority of that can be done safely, securely and without any harm to the environment".


Meanwhile Royal Dutch Shell doesn't expect the high-profile offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to slow its summer Arctic exploration plans, reports Fairbanks Daily News. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith in Anchorage said the company still needs a few other environmental permits but doesn't expect major issues as it nears the start of its $300 million exploration plan. "We don't have any reason to believe those outstanding permits will be impacted by recent events in the Gulf of Mexico," Smith said by e-mail for the newspaper.

A week after Gibbs's clarification of President Obama's unchanged positions on offshore drilling and Shell's optimism for future Arctic oil exploration and extraction, we see a growing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps the "biggest oil spill in the world" according to Mike Miller, head of Canadian oil well fire-fighting company Safety Boss (interviewed by BBC World News). We also see 11 human lives lost and sheer inability the disaster to be prevented or at least limited. We saw also the initial attempts of BP PLC, the oil company that used the platform before its collapse, to lessen the size of the oil spilling and to hide the gravity of the situation. Now, when the tragedy is near, it became clear that the oil leak is five times bigger than previously announced.

Map of offshore oil drilling

In March (2010) the Obama administration announced its plans to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling. The eastern Gulf area is believed to contain as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil and 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, the richest single tract that would be open to drilling under the Obama plan. Image source: The New York Times.

"Alaskans can continue to share our confidence that drilling in the Alaska offshore can be done safely and responsibly," said the Royal Dutch Shell representative for Fairbanks Daily News. But catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico must alert Americans and people over the world that it is easy for the politicians and the big business to propagate that oil drilling and oil production is cheap and "very safe" way of production of energy. The hardest thing is to prevent an ecological disaster when an incident really happens. During the election campaign Obama made the impression that he is opposed to "Drill, baby, drill!" politics, but his comments about the need for "diversification" of the production of energy and his actual political decisions showed an approach and policy that is far from the expectations of all people who believe in green economy.

A month ago (March 31, 2010), Sarah Palin expressed her opinion on Administration's oil drilling proposals in an article entitled "Stall, Baby, Stall": "The administration's sudden interest in offshore drilling is little more than political posturing designed to gain support for job-killing energy legislation soon to come down the pike."  - she said - "I'm confident that GOP senators will not take the bait. Next week I'm headed to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where I look forward to discussing what "Drill, baby, drill" really means."











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