Brit Liggett

Obama Condemns BP, Says US Should Seize the Moment to be Green

by , 06/16/10
filed under: Policy, Renewable Energy

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In an effort to regain his image as the tough commander in chief, President Obama took a moment to directly address the nation last night about the Gulf Coast oil spill. In the first Oval Office speech of his presidency, he took a hard stance against BP calling them “reckless”, noting that they will pay financially for all damage done to the environment and livelihoods of Gulf Coast residents, and then moved took the opportunity to tell the American public about the benefits of clean energy. He reminded the nation of his commitment to restore the natural beauty of the gulf and committed to using this disaster as momentum into the future of renewables.

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Obama talked about the meeting he will have with BP executives this afternoon detailing their responsibility for the future in regards to the oil spill. They’ve been waffling between unsuccessful attempts to stop the oil from gushing into the Gulf for over six weeks now — from containment domes to junk shots nothing seems to work. Obama laid out his plan for BP to put money in the hands of a third party agency that will make sure that people are compensated correctly for their losses and said that they will pay for the healing of the environment from “worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.”

He noted the reorganization of the corrupt Minerals Management Service and his plan to make this agency into an “organization that acts as the oil industry’s watchdog — not its partner.” He didn’t stop there, however – he used the moment to talk about the fact that just cleaning up the corruption in this agency was not going to solve our problem and that removing oil from our lives was the only way. He discussed the decades of inaction on the part of the United States to move away from our tragic addiction to fossil fuels, noting, “the consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight…we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.” He then moved on to stress the importance of making clean energy technology a cornerstone of our economy.

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So one of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk,” Obama said in his address. He went on to detail that the US consumes about 20% of the world’s oil but we hold only 2% of the Earth’s reserves and that is the main reason oil companies have to take such risky measures — like drilling a mile below the surface in the Deepwater Horizon’s case — to procure the petroleum to satisfy our needs.

We cannot consign our children to this future,” Obama firmly noted, “the tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.” Now is the time to take this tragic disaster and move toward a green future.

+ Read the President’s remarks

+ Inhabitat coverage of the Gulf Coast oil spill

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4 Comments

  1. BP Announces No Oil Flo... July 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

    [...] started, millions of gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico and President Obama has called it the worst natural disaster in US history. There is no official estimate of the amount of oil that has escaped the well but [...]

  2. What Happens If BP Neve... June 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

    [...] the ultimate nightmare scenario: all of BP’s attempts to stanch the Gulf Oil disaster (including drilling relief wells) fail. Not only [...]

  3. delstew June 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    We don’t know who’ll ultimately carry the can for this fiasco, but certainly BP’s culpable to some degree and they’ve never tried to hide it. But to listen to the US politicians, you’d think that they’re reeling against colonial plunderers on US soil.

    But wait a minute… just about every decision taken and operation undertaken in the Gulf were by ‘native Americans’. After all, BP as we know it today was formed when it merged with the American producer Amoco back in the 90s.

    And what about Transocean and Halliburton, the American firms that owned the rig and were doing the work? Sure they’re doing their level best to paint BP as the bad guy, but they won’t escape blame. And who was regulating these operations off the US coastline?

    For political reasons Obama is making this a ‘them and us’ issue. Whereas in reality, there’s only ‘us’.

    BP pays billions for drilling rights and billions on top of that in taxes to the US. So why didn’t the US authorities set aside some cash for emergencies? Accidents happen… and as far as I can tell, America is lucky BP has the resources and commitment to clean up this terrible mess.

    As for stopping drilling and going green, who is going to pay the thousands of people out of work for this idea, the government? They were quick enough to throw trillions into the financial fiasco, will they do the same to support the oil related casualties. How will defense run on solar or wind power?
    Manufacturing has gone to China due to cost going green unprepared will force more

  4. helvetica download June 16, 2010 at 10:52 am

    How much money should I take this fall to study abroad in Italy?

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