Landrieu: Dangers of Offshore Drilling ‘Far Outweighed’ by Benefits
No, that wasn’t a statement from this week. But less than six months ago, at a hearing to examine offshore drilling, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said tersely, “The risks associated with offshore oil and gas drilling domestically are far outweighed by the benefits.” (The Huffington Post has a good summary of that episode here.)
Landrieu’s tone has changed since an enormous oil spill spread out to cover hundreds of square miles across the Gulf of Mexico this week — but not by much. Indeed, though she’s called for an investigation into the accident, her recent floor speech on the topic seems more intended to downplay the significance of the spill (“97 percent of it is an extremely thin sheen of relatively light oil”) and protect the oil industry (“the industry spill rate is quite low”) than to push for precautions that might prevent the next fatal accident offshore.
We don’t believe in burying our head in the sand and pretending that the country does not need 20 million barrels of oil a day, or pretending that we can get this energy tomorrow from somewhere else. We may get it somewhere else in 20 or 30 years, but not next week, and not the month after, and not the year after.
Of note, the Louisiana lawmaker has received more than $758,000 from the oil and gas industries over her career on Capitol Hill, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — just under the amount accepted from those same companies by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who’s calling today for federal help cleaning up the spill.