Gov. Riley concedes he will reconsider ˜drill here, drill now

Pressed by the Wonk Room, Gov. Bob Riley (R-AL) admitted he is reconsidering his support for offshore drilling off his state’s coast in the face of the growing BP oil disaster.  Brad Johnson has the story live from the Gulf Coast in this repost.

Riley embraced Newt Gingrich’s campaign to expand offshore drilling in July, 2008, saying “we need to drill and we need to do it now.” He found it “astonishing” that Congress opposed efforts to lift the moratorium on drilling “because of fear they are so popular with the American people.”

At a press conference this afternoon in Mobile, AL, the Wonk Room questioned Riley whether he would reconsider his “Drill, Baby, Drill” stance as the oil spill grows, threatening the destruction of the bayous and beaches of Mobile Bay. After a long pause, Riley answered that he “will have a completely different attitude” if the efforts to protect his state’s shores fail:

That’s a great question. After we get through this, I think all of us can make a better determination than we can now. Because with the resources that have been deployed, and if we can do what I hope we can do in Alabama to mitigate any potential environmental damage here, especially in our estuaries, then I will have a completely different attitude about whether or not it is controllable after something this dramatic happens.

Watch it:

Riley is the third Republican coastal-state governor to reconsider new offshore drilling as the reality of this disaster grows, following Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA).

4 Responses to Gov. Riley concedes he will reconsider ˜drill here, drill now

  1. Richard Brenne says:

    Brad, nice work. Did you ask the question and then videotape the answer yourself? That makes you a triple threat – how’s your tap-dancing?

    I’m wondering how the Center for American Progress, Think Progress, Climate Progress and your Wonk Room all relate. What does the relationship chart look like?

    You’ve done great work with both Massey and this oil spill, Brad, keep up the good work.

    If you’d like you can e-mail me at I’m back on-line and answering Joe and others here now.

  2. substanti8 says:

    Here’s a reminder of the excrement that the oil industry has been feeding us for years.  Listen to the glib reassurance of a Wall Street analyst on April 22, as he was interviewed by National Public Radio:

    “The good thing about being offshore is that it’s far enough away that you’re not going to be polluting somebody’s backyard, or it’s not causing any potential danger to a neighborhood or anything like that.  So politically, I think the fallout should be relatively contained.”

    The implicit message is that ecological harm is acceptable if nobody notices right away.  In other words, if the damage isn’t readily apparent, then there’s no cause for alarm.  That’s been an essential part of the standard operating procedure of the oil industry for decades.  Delayed destruction from fossil fuels is the essence of global warming.

    As Bill McKibben wrote so eloquently,

    “If that oil had traveled down a pipeline to a refinery and then into the fuel tank of a car, it would have wrecked the planet just as powerfully.  We now realize, as we didn’t on the first Earth Day, that the slick of carbon dioxide spreading invisibly across the atmosphere is driving change on a massive scale: by raising the planet’s temperature, it’s melting everything frozen, raising the level of the ocean, powering ever stronger storms.  In the Gulf, and in every other ocean on the planet, that extra carbon is turning seawater acid.  You can’t see it, but it’s wrecking marine life far more effectively and insidiously even than the spreading oil.”

    Politicians must stop their suicidal short-term thinking — immediately.

  3. joyce says:

    Joe, the Human Dimensions of Oil Spills guest post does not come up.
    (sorry it’s off topic–didn’t know any other way of informing you. I’m very interested in their research)

    [JR: Sorry. Some junk code from MS Word got copied in by mistake.]

  4. Mark says:

    I’m not sure that he has said he will reconsider “drill, baby, drill”. What he seems to be saying is that he may reconsider, at some unspecified time in the future, after he has had some time to assess the fallout from this disaster.

    Typical political, CYA double speak.