Dubbed by far-right talk radio pundit Rush Limbaugh as “Obama’s Katrina”, is the Deep Horizons offshore oilrig disaster become a political rather than an environmental issue?
By: Ringo Bones
This particular environmental disaster was supposedly to remind us the urgency of lowering our carbon footprint, but unfortunately it devolved into something that can be used against the fiercest critics of US President Barack Obama. With extreme-right talk radio pundit Rush Limbaugh calling it “Obama’s Katrina”, will this disaster be the start of a conservative right-wing environmental movement in America? Not to mention that a few weeks before the disaster President Obama gave the o.k. for a proposed offshore crude oil exploration in the US East Coast.
With a carbon footprint probably just a notch below that of Paris Hilton without even enjoying the said indulgence, Rush Limbaugh will probably be the oddest environmentalist America has ever seen. Will the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin be starting her very own campaign to save the polar bears? Unfortunately, the last time the conservative far-right of America showed their environmental concerns was probably back around 1987. When they criticized the money spent in the Farm Aid concerts headlined by Guns N’ Roses and Poison would bear better results when used in greenhouse gas emissions reduction research and global warming studies. Or of their critique of McDonalds buying beef raised on the clear cutting of the Amazon Rain Forest just because these cows are 5 US cents cheaper per head than the ones raised in America near the end of the 1980s.
Politics or not, the Deep Horizons offshore oilrig disaster not only resulted in the loss of 11 oilrig workers but also the long-term environmental devastation of the Gulf of Mexico’s fragile ecosystem. With the oil leak ten times more than previously thought, this environmental disaster now threatens the livelihoods of oyster and shrimp fisheries of the state of Louisiana. Even the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce had raised concerns over the livelihood impact of a widespread environmental disaster in slow motion.
During the course of the investigation, British Petroleum – the oil company that owns the Deep Horizons offshore oilrig – points the blame at TransOcean. While TransOcean points the blame at Halliburton – the company that provides the oil drilling equipment, while Halliburton returns the favor by blaming TransOcean. The endless finger pointing has started to peeve President Obama because it might allow BP to get away from paying punitive fines.
On the safety aspect of things, BP has been blamed for lax safety concerns for a Texas oil refinery explosion a few years ago. Unfortunately, the involvement of Halliburton in this latest Gulf of Mexico oil spill that could potentially be bigger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 would probably allow BP to escape scot-free from this investigation. Especially when you consider the way former US Vice President Dick Cheney runs Halliburton like his very own Mafia. The people involved in the fishing industry of the state of Louisiana and Mississippi will be getting a raw deal, just like the fishing folks of Prince William Sound 20 years before.