Rep. Don Young (R-AK) says BP oil gusher is ‘not an environmental disaster.’

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) adds, ‘Acts of God are acts of God.’

Salon has a great feature called, “This Week in Crazy.”  Here are some nominees from Big Oil’s biggest boosters in Congress, courtesy of Think Progress.

Last week, Obama administration officials admitted that the Deepwater Horizon blowout is the worst oil disaster in American history, exceeding the Exxon Valdez spill, as they estimated that the gusher had spewed between 15 and 40 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Around the same time, however, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) declared that the oil pumping into the Gulf is “not an environmental disaster“:

Young said: “This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again because it is a national phenomena. Oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries, will continue to do it. During World War II there was over 10 million barrels of oil spilt from ships, and no natural catastrophe.”¦ We will lose some birds, we will lose some fixed sealife, but overall it will recover.”

Last month, Gulf Coast marine scientists told The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson that the ecological impact of the accident will be “devastating” because “oil’s bad for everything.” The massive amount of oil threatens several endangered species, coral reefs, and the fragile ecosystem of Louisiana’s coastline. The exact impact of the oil is more uncertain than in other spills because “for the most part, researchers have studied the aftermath of surface spills. The Deepwater Horizon blowout occurred at 5,000 feet, dispensing crude oil from seafloor to surface.” “This is uncharted territory in terms of assessing the effects of a spill from a deep well like this,” Judy McDowell, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts told the Christian Science Monitor.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), an ardent supporter of the oil industry and adherent of the “drill here, drill now” chant, appeared on KTOK radio yesterday to discuss BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf. Like Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who dismissed the oil spill catastrophe as an “act of God,” Cole sought to downplay dangers inherently associated with offshore drilling. Cole said more could have been done to deal with the spill, but the oil spill itself was more or less unpredictable because “acts of God are acts of God”:

COLE: We probably should have forced BP to mobilize more in the way of vessels. There’s still a lot that can be done. But again, acts of God are acts of God. And you know, FEMA is not, you know, can not cope with everything.

Watch it:

32 Responses to Rep. Don Young (R-AK) says BP oil gusher is ‘not an environmental disaster.’

  1. Chad says:

    I wish we would eliminate “act of God” from our vocab entirely, but especially when it comes to this tragedy.

  2. Walter Miale says:

    Personally I wouldn’t put it past god to have done this. After all, wasn’t it she who dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima and who shot Archduke Ferdinand?

  3. BBHY says:

    God sure does suck at drilling oil wells. He should just leave it to the professionals.

  4. Artful Dodger says:

    Personally I wouldn’t put it past god to have done this. After all, wasn’t it she who dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima and who shot Archduke Ferdinand?

    He was also implicated in the Charles Manson Family murders, but was never brought to trial in that case. Evidence was deemed too circumstantial and countered by numerous character witnesses claiming the contrary IIRC…

  5. Karen S. says:

    Actually, considering BP’s imperious commentary lately, it doesn’t surprise me that some elected representatives whose main source of funds is from Big Oil DO consider this an act of “God.” BP evidently considers itself a God of sorts, so why not its bought-and-paid-for members of Congress too?

    To these guys the real “environmental” disaster would be a shareholder price drop that dries up their political “environment.” And for Don “Bridge to Nowhere” Young, who once told Katrina victims needing extra funding that they could kiss his ear, nothing outside Alaska counts.

  6. mike roddy says:

    I’m glad guys like Barbour, Cole, Young, and Inhofe give us a little comic relief. Otherwise, it’s enough to scare the hell out us that people this dumb can wield such enormous power at this key moment.

    We are stuck with these hillbillies in Congress, who are roughly 35% of the population but 40% of the Senate. The answer is going to have to be to find one or more who has done enough research to arrive at an epiphany- namely, that his actions in perpetuating our use of fossil fuels are the operative definition of evil.

    We thought it was Graham for a while, and that he would set an example, but he caved in to the pressure. There may be others. It’s going to be up to a Senator who has befriended one of the less hopeless ones, who will commit to educating and persuading him.

    He may have to explain that maybe it’s better to do the right thing than to congratulate himself for landing a lobbying job in DC when his career is over. That accomplishing something for the future of humanity is better than big houses, golf, and a fleet of cars.

    Here’s the problem: this kind of talk brands you as a quaint and silly dreamer in Washington. But there may be a few even now who still have souls…

  7. Michael Tucker says:



    Several media commentators as well as a few politicians have referred to this environmental calamity as a natural disaster. IT IS NOT!

    Why are some folks confused? Maybe because the environment is suffering. Solution, keep in mind this is an oil well blowout that was caused by our insatiable need for oil. It was not caused by a natural climactic or geologic event.

  8. Josh Minges says:


    I hate to disagree with people who hold the same feelings as me, but when I hear that this was an accident and things could have been done better, it makes me cringe. To argue that if only BP had done things better then this would have never happened is also to argue that this catastrophe could have been prevented, and we can drill offshore safely.

    Honestly, I would rather hear that this spill was an act of god because then we are accepting the principles that it is uncontrollable, can never be done safely, and shouldn’t even be attempted. Plus, if this was an act of god, perhaps it’s a message from above that the use of oil is against god’s will.

    If we could apply that logic to Perry, Barbour, Cole, Young, Inhofe, Palin, and all of their kind, it would shut them up, and we could move forward with a sustainable and renewable energy policy.

  9. John McCormick says:

    The case against BP hinges on the word of non-BP workers who argued with the BP rep prior to the blowout that his order on how to proceed was wrong, dangerous and they were not in agreement.

    Who are those non-BP workers and why hasn’t the media gotten them onto the Larry King show yet? We need to get much angrier with BP and not let its spin factory try to tell us this disaster was ‘an act of god’.

    John McCormick

  10. Aaron Lewis says:

    a.)God put “the Apple” in the Garden of Eden, but NOBODY ever said that Eve eating the Apple was an act of God. God may have put the oil under the Gulf, but it was a willful act of BP that brought it into the environment.

    Peace officers that exclude people from public spaces at BP’s direction should be issuing (BP’s) checks to those people for damages!

  11. Rick Covert says:

    To representative Young: Slipping on a bar of soap is an accident. Ignoring imminent signs of danger that cause the deaths of 11 men is criminally negligent man-slaughter. Rep Cole this was an act of greed not god.

  12. Andy says:

    Sorry this is off topic, but for those interested in how the American Power Act in the Senate treats EPA Clean Air Authority (a sticking point for many environmentalists out there), I would very highly recommend David Roberts’ post that just came up on Grist, titled “The Senate climate bill gives EPA authority over both old and new coal plants.”

    Essentially, there is a little proviso in APA that would give EPA the NEW authority to use the CAA to regulate GHG emissions from Existing, Dirty coal power plants that have escaped CAA regulation for so long. This is apparently little understood and the left needs to be informed!


  13. knoxkp says:

    Their ignorance is to be celebrated! it discredits them at every turn and 2010 won’t be the year the goopers hoped it would be because of it. What’s that you say Sarah? “Drill Baby Drill?” But I thought you never said that!

    A song in her honour

  14. Auntie Sycophant says:

    Republicans say silly things, but so do Democrats.  When are we going to get some coverage on this blog of the ongoing charade from Jane Lubchenco at NOAA – who refuses to confirm that most of the oil exists in vast undersea plumes?

    Why all the partisan spin here?  Is the Obama administration sacrosanct at CAP?

  15. robhon says:

    I’m trying to figure out what “act of God” would cause BP to NOT install the acoustic trigger system (for a measly $500k) that would have ended the spill shortly after it started.

  16. knoxkp says:

    robhon – No act of god prevented them from installing the acoustic switch – it was an act of parsimony – The switch would have cost them .004% of their 2009 profits. They are criminals

  17. villabolo says:

    “acts of God are acts of God”

    If I were Christian I would tell him, “How dare you, Mammon worshiping pharisee, blasphemously blame God for the acts of degenerate men. You might as well be rubbing that oil in Jehovah’s beard.”

    But since I’m not Christian I would simply say, “Is this not the same God who made a law stating that a woman should have her hand cut off for protecting her husband from an attacker by grabbing his testicles?” (Deuteronomy 25:11,12)

  18. Ron_crozet says:

    Explaining anything away as an act of God is nothing short of intellectual laziness and not taking any responsibility. Especially disturbing when someone in a sort of leadership role is uttering such blatant nonsense. Religion is already a man-invented hook used for all sort of nasty actions by the human race, let’s not mis-use it even more…

  19. JasonW says:

    Didn’t they say a few days ago that it was the environmentalists’ fault? An now it’s an Act Of God(tm). So, in effect wouldn’t that mean that God and enviromentalists are on the same side?

    ‘You spin me right round, baby, right round…’

  20. Ryan T says:

    Someone should inform the fossil fools that there’s quite a difference between seepage over centuries/leakage over very wide areas, and a gusher bordering somewhat sensitive ecosystems. It’s a bit like the difference between sipping your cocktails and chugging them down one after the other, ya know?

  21. What’s needed for a disaster then? Would this help: Computer animation shows possible spreading of oil from BP disaster into the Atlantic Ocean this summer;

  22. Chris Winter says:

    Rep. Young must have been taking lessons from the French foreign minister who, a few years back, said about their last nuclear test, “This is not a bomb; this is a device which is exploding.”


  23. rich says:

    The only “Act Of God” I care about is the one where he shows mercy to this hopeless sinner. If that’s not YOUR main daily concern, perhaps you should take a closer look at where you really are.

  24. BobSmith says:

    Excuse me while I go pour 10 gallons of water onto my house plant.

  25. Dave says:

    I think the oil enthusiasts need to change their bumper stickers to “Spill, Baby, Spill!”

  26. Adjuster says:

    Tom Cole’s script must have been written by an insurance company. If they can manage to attach an “Act of God” label to this mess, they’re off the hook. Next best exclusion to an “Act of War”.

  27. Jon G says:

    How about Carly Fiorina saying that “terrorism kills but Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather”. That’s pretty friggin’ crazy… Does Carly really confuse climate disruption with the weather? Really..?! That alone tells me she’s unqualified to serve…

  28. Whatshisname says:

    God hasn’t acted at all.


  29. Raul says:

    Wow that booming school 101. Hadn’t heard a woman talk like that
    since I was in the USAF, back in peace time.
    OT – As US law for fishing closures only goes out 200 miles,{?} isit the
    United Nations that would act for the Nothern Central Atlantic Ocean?

  30. Ann says:

    >>Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) adds, ‘Acts of God are acts of God.'<<

    So he thinks BP is God? These guys just get more and more confused.

  31. DON says:

    Tom Cole, Don Young, Rick Perry and Sister Sara are just earning thier contrubtions from oil induistry. Go for it guys, “Shill, babies, shill!.”

  32. Tom(not the idiot Tom) says:

    I guess Tom Cole thinks BP should sue God for all the trouble he caused them. Apparently Republicans are the only “natural” disaster.