In 2009 the American Dental Association sued the Republican Party asserting that “drill baby drill” was a motto of the Dental Association, and had been wrongfully used by the Republican Party during the convention of 2008. Most of us didn’t hear “drill baby drill” from our dentist, but from Michael Steele and Rudy Giuliani at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Sarah Palin became associated with that phrase shortly after the RNC.
Palin, the astute intellectual that she is, memorized this phrase, “drill baby drill”, without even writing it on her hand. Repeatedly we heard her use this phrase in speeches given across the country. Yet, in spite of Palin’s advocacy of immediate drilling, it was incontrovertible that even if oil exploration and drilling began immediately in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it would be 10 years before the United States would realize any real benefit. Thus Palin’s only possible motivation was to incite crowds, instead of seeking real solutions for our future.
Palin professes expertise in the area of energy. She has cited her vast experience on the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission in Alaska, and the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission to establish the illusion that she is an expert. She suggests that she is an expert in all energy related matters, including energy generation, production, transmission, distribution, and political matters pertaining thereto. The truth is that Palin’s only real “energy experience” is experience with environmental disasters.
Palin resigned her position as Oil & Gas Commissioner after being in office less than one year. Palin explained that it “…was more than I bargained for in terms of what the job is.” If she were to run for President in 2012, I wonder if it would also be more than she “bargained for” and simply quit.
Between 1942 and 2010, Alaska experienced contamination of over 25,000 sites. During the time Palin was the head of the Oil & Gas Commission for Alaska and the Governor, Alaska faced several major oil spills. One of the largest was on the North Slope (yes, the same area where Todd worked for BP), which occurred in March of 2006. This spill in Prudhoe Bayfive days, when an oil field worker just happened upon it. This spill, coming from a pipeline, resulted in an estimated 267,000 gallons of thick crude oil along the North Slope wasn’t even discovered for spoiling the pristine tundra of Alaska.
The Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline have caused an average of 409 spills annually1.3 million gallons of crude4,532 spills, resulting in contamination of the Alaskan wilderness by over 1.9 million gallons of toxic substances. on the North Slope since 1996. Over spilled between 1996 and 1999. Over 22,000 acres of tundra wetlands, floodplains, and other habitats have been directly lost due to oil fields and Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Between 1996 and 2004 there were
Devastation from oil spills in Alaska has had long lasting and expansive effects. Air pollution is just one major type of collateral damage. Prudhoe Bay air pollution has been detected almost 200 miles away in Barrow Alaska. Annual emissions from the oil industry on the North Slope from nitrogen oxides are approximately 70,000 tons. To put this in perspective, that is more than twice the emissions of Washington D.C. In addition to nitrogen oxide, the North Slope oil facilities annually release large quantities of greenhouse gases, including 24,000 metric tons of methane and 7.3 to 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Given the vast experience of Palin and BP have had with spills, leaks, and explosions, we would expect that BP would change its dangerous method of operation. We would expect that Sarah Palin would have become a proponent for the protection of Alaska. Palin’s lack of concern for the Alaskan environment was a clear indication that money is her primary motivation. Consider the following:
In. Dec. 2002 a U.S. District Court found BP had not installed a leak detection system that could promptly detect the Prudhoe Bay spills, and failed to comply with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements. Criminal Probation was imposed.
In Nov. of 2002 BP was fined $675,000 for spill clean up problems associated with the Prudhoe Bay spill.
In Feb. 2000 a $22 million dollar fine was imposed against BP for its failure to implement new environmental management program.
In 2009 OSHA found more than 700 violations at the Texas City refinery. BP was fined $87.4 million dollars for these violations and for the explosion in Texas City in 2005. In that explosion, 15 people died and 170 were injured.
On March 31, 2010 President Obama announced that he was willing to consider additional offshore drilling, after further investigation into the potential risks and hazards of drilling. Even though Palin had first hand experience with the devastation that could be caused by improper oil drilling, she suggested that the President’s new program could be characterized as “stall baby stall”. Given her vast experience in the oil & gas industry, Palin indicated additional study was not necessary and we should move ahead as fast as possible.
The Gulf oil explosion and resulting spill began on April 24, 2010. Now on her Facebook, Palin blames environmentally inclined interests:
“Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests, and lawsuits, and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it….
Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.”
The Gulf spill is tragic to be sure. However it is NOT unprecedented. As Rachel Maddow explained that several years ago there was another spill in the Gulf Coast, which also coincided with a spill in Alaska. History repeats itself if we do nothing to learn from our past mistakes. Maddow highlighted the even greater problem that our technology has improved to facilitate even deeper drilling, but our knowledge relating to how to control the spill had not changed or improved in two or more decades.
To make matters worse Palin has suggested that the Obama administration is dragging its feet in the efforts to clean up the spill in the Gulf, because of his alignment with big oil. Of course the government has no expertise in oil & gas drilling or containment. Of course Palin is the person who has advocated less governmental “interference” in our lives. This is just one more painful example of the hypocrisy of Palin. When it serves her purpose Palin advocates less government, and when something bad happens it is the fault of the government, and government should fix the problem. Moreover, Obama has received substantially less in campaign contributions from big oil than Republicans. In fact, as of June 1, 2010, Republicans received 75% of all oil contributions. In addition, John McCain, for whom Palin is now involved in raising funds, received more than twice as much money as Obama from the oil and gas industries. Republicans have received $35.6 million in contributions from oil and gas concerns.
Contributions to Republicans by big oil companies have increased because of the Gulf oil spill. While Congressoil giant’s political action committee made 14 contributions during the month of May, according to a federal campaign report filed Wednesday — 13 to Republicans and one to a Democrat. It was the busiest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008. Of the 10 current members of Congress who got money from Halliburton in May, seven are on committees with oversight of the oil spill and its aftermath. investigates the role of Halliburton in the doomed Deep Horizon oil rig, Halliburton donated $17,000 to candidates running for federal office, giving money to several lawmakers on committees that have launched inquiries into the massive Gulf oil spill. The Texas-based
Halliburton’s political contributions in May are the highest they’ve been since September 2009. The last time the company gave this much money to a political campaign was during the presidential campaign of 2008, when it gave $25,000 in a single month.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that the motto of Palin is still “drill baby drill, given who her supporters are, and given the company that employed her husband.
Palin has taken the position that we should “drill baby drill” along with Michael Steele and Rudy Giuliani. This is her position irrespective of the thousands of spills in Alaska, and the multitude of people who have been killed in explosions. When additional drilling proved to be something President Obama was willing to consider, with careful study and after safeguards were in place, Palin complained that there was no need for careful study, and claimed that “stall baby stall” characterized this approach. Now that the Gulf oil spill has become the worst national disaster in our country’s history, Palin has to pick someone else to blame. The very people who warned us about this potential devastating disaster, and who had nothing to do with this blow out, are the environmentalists, who she now blames and characterizes as “radical environmentalists” in ANWR. When Palin questions the “true motives” of these “nonsensical radical environmentalists”, she causes us to be reminded of her motives. We know that she and the Republican Party have received huge amounts of money from the oil and gas industry, so their motives are as clear as the water used to be in the Gulf. The environmentalists rely upon donations from people who are concerned about the environment, so their motives are transparent.
The extent of the economic devastation caused by the Gulf oil disaster will likely exceed all expectations. However the economic impact may be capable of repair. The damage done to the environment may not be capable of repair. Species may become extinct, and habitat may be permanently destroyed. If the dinosaurs were alive today, BP and Palin would be enough to render them extinct. Few things we do in our lives leave a permanent mark on the earth. BP, and Palin through the lies she promotes, are creating permanent scars that even the best of plastic surgeons will not be able to repair.