Funny how the right-wing complains about judges being “activist” whenever they overturn anything they like, such as gay marriage bans or laws that tip the scales heavily away from individuals and toward big businesses. When they declare Obama’s deep drilling moratorium on new leases deeper than 500 feet to be unfounded and lift it, however, they apparently cheer, wholly oblivious to their hypocrisy.
Oil companies should get back to the business of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. federal judge ruled, declaring President Barack Obama’s six-month ban “arbitrary and capricious.”
As crude oil continues to gush from BP’s catastrophic blowout, Judge Martin Feldman said Tuesday that the Obama administration had failed to provide an acceptable rationale for imposing a six-month moratorium on all deepwater drilling in the Gulf.
His ruling came even as BP said the industry needs to change its operating procedures to reduce the risk of another such accident.
That incident, which was seized upon by Republicans and conservative pundits in the U.S., “caused some apprehension” about the process by which the moratorium was enacted, the judge ruled.
He said the administration investigated the BP disaster and then concluded all deep water drilling was unsafe – reasoning he found deeply flawed.
“If some equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? … That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed and rather overbearing,” the judge wrote. The moratorium also threatened to devastate the local economy around the Gulf, the judge noted.
Meanwhile, despite being in effect since the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the moratorium has not done a damn thing to stop 198 new leases in the Gulf, 10 of which being granted to British Petroleum.
The moratorium was not enacted because equipment was simply “flawed”. It’s because BP was warned that something catastrophic was about to happen, weeks prior to the disaster. The disaster was a systematic failure of every component and safety, due to repeated corner-cutting and callous disregard by the powers-that-be. The blowout could “gush for years”, according to experts, because neither BP nor any other oil company has any technology feasible for stopping leaks at this depth. And cleaning up the oil that’s made it to the surface, well, BP’s not exactly doing too hot on that front either. What they ARE pretty good at, however, is suppressing the truth about the situation. Remember when they said it was a “mere” 5000 barrels a day? The estimates for the gusher are presently at between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels every single stinking day.
We have no idea how to stop this disaster. It’s going to destroy the Gulf of Mexico, and is already well on its way to strangling the life out of Louisiana, with or without the moratorium causing economic problems around the Gulf. They say that prayer is the last recourse, the dying gasp of the oppressed — and Louisiana just gave up by legislating a day of prayer to stop the oil. Sarah Palin sees prayer as the only way out of this situation, in fact. And believe it or not, intervention by a deity is honestly looking like the only way out of this one. But since there’s probably no point in praying to any sort of deity anyway (as explained here at great depth), it looks like we’re stuck with the knowledge that we made a huge mistake in tackling a project that had every chance of going wrong, and we did it without any sort of plan B, and we’re going to be stuck with the consequences — a half-dead region of the world so vast that ripple effects are sure to be felt worldwide for decades.
Not only did we make that mistake, and are going to have to live with the disastrous consequences for years to come, but now the oil companies want to double down. Not just double… rather, 198-times-down. And that’s just counting the new leases! How many offshore oil rigs do we have worldwide? How many of them are at a depth where we can’t possibly contain them with our current level of technology should something untoward happen?
So why did Judge Feldman REALLY lift the moratorium?
As Phil Plait said, damn.
We human beings did this in our lust for oil. The Earth will, long term, burn us off like a fever, like the vermin we are, and maybe some day a new species will arise and win sapience. Maybe that species will fare better than us. I don’t normally get all fatalistic like this, but I had honestly hoped, so much, that we could overcome these challenges through scientific progress. Certain individuals’ greed has made humanity’s future dimmer than it’s ever been.