Mary ˜not a handmaiden to oil Landrieu still says we have to drill, baby, drill

Like a problem gambler, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is doubling down her support for the oil industry as her state is threatened by what could become the worst oil disaster in history.   Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has the story.

Landrieu is placing a career-threatening bet that the damage from the undersea oil gusher to Louisiana will be limited, accusing people concerned by the threat of this ever-growing spill of “hysteria.” Questioned this morning about her campaign contributions from BP and other oil companies, Landrieu said, “I am not a handmaiden to the oil industry,” but then said the United States has to increase its dependence on drilling for oil:

I am not a handmaiden to the oil industry but I will tell you this: This country uses 20 million barrels of oil a day. We produce here in the United States less than half. So our choice is either to increase, you know, our reliance on “friends,” you know, and I say that in quotes, like Venezuela, Cuba and other places to get our oil or learn how to drill it safely here. Again, you’ve got to the put this accident in perspective. The last thing we need to do is shut this oil and gas industry down.

Watch it:

DSCC oil letter Landrieu is offering Americans a false choice. Instead of getting oil from Venezuela (the United States does not, in fact, import oil from Cuba) or increasing offshore drilling, we can consume less petroleum. Sweden plans to cut its oil use by 40 to 50 percent by 2020, using more fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles, smart growth, electrified rail systems, biofuels, and other clean-energy policies. Cutting American dependence on oil won’t just reduce the risks of catastrophes in the Gulf Coast and weaken our enemies, but also help the economy grow faster with green jobs.

In a fundraising email sent on May 4, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee director J.B. Poersch described how the “deadly oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has unleashed an oil spill that threatens livelihoods, pristine beaches, and wildlife along America’s coast.” Poersch concluded that Americans need to choose between Democrats “who are moving our country forward” and Republicans who “cater to the needs of big corporations and special interests.”
From Crooks and Liars, Landrieu told CNN’s John King that people concerned by the growing disaster are wrong, because all that happened was “you do 999 right and then one wrong”:

I’m not trying to be a watchdog for BP. I’m trying to be a good senator for this country and for Louisiana and to bring a balance to our energy policy, which is protecting our coast, fighting for energy security and a clean environment. I want to say again, John, this is important. We’ve drilled 1,000 deep-water wells in the gulf successfully. 1,000 except for this one. So the fact that you do 999 right and then one wrong doesn’t mean you throw up your hands and run in hysteria.

10 Responses to Mary ˜not a handmaiden to oil Landrieu still says we have to drill, baby, drill

  1. Rockfish says:

    It’s not really a false choice. She just recognizes that asking, or forcing, Americans not to drive is politically “off the table.”
    Every other politician is actually being hypocritical when they condemn drilling and then get back in their motorcade. Let’s see if Obama, Charlie Crist or Arnold go on record for a massive gas tax. Not bloody likely!
    I think Landreau is right about one thing. Nothing currently proposed or under discussion in America will cut our oil consumption to domestic-production-only levels in anyone’s lifetime. Not by 2020, not 2050, never. So given that REALITY, where do you want our oil to come from? I guess we would just rather trash Nigeria or Brazil, ’cause out of sight is out of mind.

  2. RoySV says:

    False choice or just deceitful. Plain truth is: no amount of feasible oil extraction in the US will make a noticeable dent in our import needs. Why? Because we’re already drilling and extracting at elevated rates. What will make a dent is efficiency and conservation, but those are dirty words in the Republican/Washington world.

  3. Brewster says:

    Rockfish, you’ve never heard of the Chevy Volt? Or the Nissan Leaf?

    The present versions are just the beginning for electric cars – it will take some time to get production up to levels where everyone will be driving electrically, but we’re on our way…

  4. Mark says:

    She also doesn’t mention the fact that Deepwater is different from almost all of those other 999 oil rigs she mentions, because that rig was drilling in much deeper water.

    It is orders of magnitude harder to safely extract oil from the deep wells than it is from the early and shallower wells.

    It only makes sense that we would drill in the easy places first. If we keep drilling new deepwater wells, we should expect that we’ll run into the same sort of problems that BP has found with Deepwater.

  5. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    She forgot to mention friends like Canada. Apparently, the U.S. gets most of its oil from us, least in the last couple of years. Rather convenient to forget to mention that…maybe she meant “Canada” when she said “Cuba”? Both begin with a “C” and end with an “a”, and we’re also a communist country–or are we a socialist country with our socialized health care system? ;)

  6. Rockfish says:

    I’ve heard if them and think they are great.
    However, without a seriously punitive gas tax ( like $5/gal!) I doubt that electric vehicles will be even 10% of the passenger fleet in 10 years. That’s a long way from an oil-free America.

  7. Josh D says:

    So if we take the pessimistic view that the climate change and clean energy bill won’t pass this year (I, personally, do not think it’s completely dead, by any means), does this now make EPA regulations on economy-wide,large sources of CO2 emissions the likely course of action? Tailoring rule announcement for the largest sources of emissions- pulp, chemical,steel, etc. manufacturers- could be announced this month to begin Jan. 2011. Then smaller and smaller emitters phased in over the next few years.

    Or will resolutions and legislation in Congress that strip EPA of its authority to regulate CO2 gain momentum as the reality sinks in climate legislation is dead? Most likely, Obama would not sign any resolution or legislation to law that undermined EPA’s carbon dioxide, but still would be a very unfortunate turn of events.

  8. Bob Wallace says:

    Rockfish – the Nissan Leaf is expected to use about 0.3 kWh per mile. For the average US driver putting in their 12,000 annual miles and buying $0.105 kWh power that’s an annual fuel bill of $378 per year.

    A 30 MPG car burning $3 gas for the same 12k miles would cost the driver $1,200 per year. At $4 per gallon it’s $1,600 per year. Add in $100-$200 per year for oil/filter changes. And add in much more frequent brake replacements (2x – 5x as often).

    My guess is that we are looking at $5 gas, even without any increase in gas tax. (Pretty much politically impossible to pass.) When people realize that they can get where they are going with and EV and it can save them a couple thousand plus bucks a year, they’ll switch.

  9. Tom says:

    Great, apparently we have only a one in a thousand chance of catastrophe, per well. Isn’t that kind of like saying there’s only a 1/1000 chance of a bomb going off when its being made, and then going out to make 10,000 of them? (Remember the total cumulative effect of all the wells proposed will only save us a few pennies on the gallon; how much *total* risk do we want to take to make that kind of difference?)

  10. Andy says:

    I can’t believe the politiking.

    Does Sen. Landrieu somehow actually not realize that this oil spill is going to devestate her state’s coastal economy???

    “Landrieu is placing a career-threatening bet that the damage from the undersea oil gusher to Louisiana will be limited…” Does anyone, anywhere think that is a real possibility at this point?

    Mind-boggling. Absolutely mind-boggling.

    @Bob Wallace: Yes the Nissan Leaf is very exciting. Cheaper to drive than gasoline cars, cheaper to maintain, good range, and reasonably priced (rumored at less than $30k). I am looking forward to its release.