Gingrich: ˜Of course Gov. Barbour should encourage tourists to visit oil contaminated gulf beaches

Weeks after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Newt Gingrich still continues his “Drill Here, Drill Now” mantra, writing that “human progress is not without risk” and that “[o]ffshore drilling is no exception.” Even though the oil leak at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig continues largely unabated and is “already far larger” than the Exxon Valdez crash, Gingrich is holding firm.  Think Progress has more original investigative reporting:

At the NRA’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC, yesterday, ThinkProgress asked Gingrich if he still accepts this level of risk to continue offshore drilling:

TP: So given the scale of the oil spill in the gulf, do you still think that it represents an acceptable risk to continue offshore drilling?

GINGRICH: Yes. “¦ One oil spill since 1969 with 4,000 wells. If the Coast Guard had a reasonable research program, we’d be much further down the road to solving this kind of thing.

ThinkProgess also asked the former GOP House Speaker if he agrees with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s (R) recent campaign to encourage tourists to visit gulf beaches despite oil and dead sea animals washing ashore. While Gingrich hesitated for a moment, he replied, “Of course.” Watch the interview:

While it’s unclear which “4,000 wells” Gingrich was referring to, his claim that there has only been one spill since 1969 is not accurate, as the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has noted:

Between 1992 and 1998 there were 319 failures of blowout preventers found in US offshore drilling, an average of 45 a year. [MMS, 1999] Between 1992 and 2006 there were at least 39 blowouts off the US coastline, 38 of them in the Gulf of Mexico. [MMS, 7/07] From 2007 to 2009 there were 19 blowouts, all in the Gulf of Mexico. [MMS]

Moreover, the largest accidental oil spill in history was a Gulf of Mexico exploratory rig blowout in 1979 and other major offshore spills have occurred elsewhere around the world. In “one of Australia’s worst oil disasters,” a PTTEP oil rig blew out in the Montara deepwater oil field on August 21, 2009.

Sunday morning, Newt Gingrich sat for a softball interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace to discuss his new book. Wallace never asked Gingrich — the originator of the “drill here, drill now, pay less” slogan — about the oil spill.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) has been arguing that his state’s beaches have never been so clean:

Alabama Governor Bob Riley said Thursday that the beaches of Gulf Shores are safe for this weekend’s Hangout Festival despite the oil rig explosion that continues to dump as much as 200,000 gallons into the Gulf daily.

“The atmosphere has never been as electric, and I don’t think Orange Beach and Gulf Shores has ever looked as attractive as it does now,” Riley said from the Hangout.

7 Responses to Gingrich: ˜Of course Gov. Barbour should encourage tourists to visit oil contaminated gulf beaches

  1. Raul says:

    In looking a present science on the biological usual interaction with
    oil, one example is of the natural system and the other example is of
    the developed system. The developed system depends on the natural sys.
    only at more of a distance.
    Another example is of the impacts oil has in the fresh water systems
    on land as it interacts with microbes. One may look at studies of
    groundwater as associated with biofuels.

  2. PSU Grad says:

    “If the Coast Guard had a reasonable research program, we’d be much further down the road to solving this kind of thing.”

    So let me understand what Newt is saying. On the one hand he wants to cut government spending to the bone. On the other hand he’s lambasting the government for not spending enough.

    Got it. But that leads to a question.

    Why, exactly, does the government have to provide a “resonable research program”? Why can’t the oil industry (aka the private sector), awash in billions of dollars in profit, provide a “reasonable research program”?

    I heard a saying many years ago that conservatives want socialism for themselves and capitalism for everyone else. This is a classic example.

  3. darth says:

    The gall of this man knows no bounds. Blaming the coast guard for lacking a research program? While complaining about the government being too big? What an ass. Shouldn’t the industry be forced to invest in the ‘research’ needed to prevent or handle this kind of disaster? One blowout since 1969!?! Typical conservative spin – just keep lying and if you say it enough people will eventually believe it.

  4. Chris Dudley says:

    More domestic drilling means paying more, not less. All new oil we produce is expensive to produce so we need high oil prices to do any oil drilling at all. If you are increasing supply by making the marginal barrel expensive, then you put a floor on prices rather than bringing them down.

    If we want to pay less, we have to give up on new domestic production and reduce demand to the point where Saudi Arabia’s spare production capacity is so large that they feel OK about a low oil price. About 6 million barrels a day of spare capacity is about right. Then we can have oil for under $20/barrel. No amount of added supply that costs over $50/barrel to produce can have that effect. We hold the key to low oil prices but it is on the demand side, not the supply side. Gingrich has got it wrong.

  5. Bill Waterhouse says:

    The oil industry should develop expertise and technologyi for stopping and cleaning up blowouts from deep-water wells, including having all necessary equipment readily available for deployment – no more taking weeks or months to figure out fixes after-the-fact. No more deep-water drilling should occur until it has this expertise and technology – the oil isn’t going away, we can wait to exploit it if and when we can do it safely.

    The oil industry should also be taxed to fund development of more expertise in the Coast Guard, NOAA and a reformed MMS concerning control of oil spills, including research on the ecological effects of oil and oil dispersants, and capping of blowouts sufficient to oversee oil industry responses to accidents. These agencies should have full access to information about the accident – estimates of the oil reserve size, spill flow rate, chemical composition and effects of dispersants. They should have a fleet (not a single research ship) to monitor spills and impacts.

    If the oil industry fails to take appropriate action those govt agencies should be empowered to take over control of the response, including requisitioning the industry’s equipment and employees and hiring any other needed temporary employees (e.g. fishermen w/ boats, etc.).

  6. Karen S. says:

    “One oil spill since 1969 with 4,000 wells…” Excuuuuuse me? That’s not just a lie, it’s a damn lie. Put a damn lie in the mouth of a politician and it becomes a statistic that his followers will use. This is how the conservative PR machine gobbled up the brains of people who are too comfortable to bother exercising critical thinking, because NOT using their brains is a lot easier on the conscience than using them. Lies, damn lies and statistics like that are nothing more than methadone for oil addicts.

  7. AD says:

    “human progress is not without risk”

    But this is not progress… It is the same damn thing we’ve been doing for 100 years.

    Actual clean energy would be progress.