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.
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.
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.