Obama Administration’s Plan For Arctic Offshore Drilling Safety: ‘I Believe There’s Not Going To Be An Oil Spill’

With virtually no infrastructure available to clean up an oil spill in the sensitive Arctic, the Obama Administration is still pushing to get offshore drilling projects developed in the region.

What’s the messaging strategy from the Administration? Trust Shell.

Talking to reporters about exploration permits for Arctic waters yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar summed up the Administration’s approach: “I believe there’s not going to be an oil spill.”


Shell has faced more legal prosecutions for safety and environmental transgressions than any other major oil company drilling offshore in the North Sea.

And let’s remember, the Arctic is a place where the Coast Guard has warned “if [a spill] were to happen … we’d have nothing. We’re starting from ground zero today.”

Heck, even one of the world’s largest insurance pools refuses to back offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, saying the environment is “highly sensitive to damage” and that the risk is “hard to manage.”

Discussing the technique of foreshadowing, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once wrote: “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.”

As we see in the graphic below, Obama already proved himself a master of foreshadowing in the lead up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Let’s hope Salazar doesn’t do the same. (Hat tip to Greenpeace’s Joe Smyth for the image).

20 Responses to Obama Administration’s Plan For Arctic Offshore Drilling Safety: ‘I Believe There’s Not Going To Be An Oil Spill’

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Hilarious quote :)

  2. Bleekerstreet says:

    …and would the secretary please clarify his position regarding the ontology of the Easter Bunny?
    I wonder what is the cost (in energy) to draw up one barrel of oil in the Arctic Ocean? We are reaching an energy parity, now, when the energy necessary to draw up one barrel of oil is the energy from one barrel of oil.

  3. Ken Barrows says:

    There won’t be an oil spill! There’s 100 years of natural gas! The oceans will stop rising!

    B. Obama

  4. Michelle M says:

    Certain things should not be in the purvey of politicians and businessmen to decide. They should not decide upon what kind of medical treatment you should get, how to educate your children, and environmental decisions. These should all be left in the hands of experts. We have amateurs making decisions that have deep impacts on our future.

  5. Paul Klinkman says:

    And I don’t believe that there will be any megafires because of climate change, so why bother buying any firefighting air tankers? Why bother cleaning up the existing fire lines ahead of time?

  6. Foppe says:

    Coming soon: The Vote for more Change You Can Believe In! (That is, no changes to status quo politics at all. Go corporatist (D/R) president!)
    Anyway, who still remembers the gulf oil disaster anyway? The people who are slowly dying of dispersant-related poisoning? They’ll largely vote R anyway, if they vote at all. Nothing can go wrong, and democrats aren’t allowed to vote for other candidates anyway, lest they want to be branded traitors.

    @Michelle: the experts are largely bought, and the politicians decide *which* experts are heard. Which is to say, 50% pro-industry ones, 49% feckless twits and 1% ‘radicals’.

  7. denim says:

    How does one deal with Black Swans? Well, if one is superman, no problem.

    Of course one can be a devotee of Edgar Bergan’s Mortimer Snerd…”It Pays to Be Ignorant” Life may be just a silly game anyway.

  8. fj says:

    Brings to mind The Darwin Awards and a famous redneck last saying:

    “Watch This!”

  9. Mark E says:

    By building nuclear bombs we ensure there won’t be any nuclear detonations.

  10. Tim says:

    “Heck, even one of the world’s largest insurance pools refuses to back offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, saying the environment is “highly sensitive to damage” and that the risk is “hard to manage.””

    Right-wing conclusion: That’s why we need tort reform!

  11. fj says:

    Yes indeedy!

    Hilarious like the one about the Titanic that “it can’t sink.”

  12. Lisa Boucher says:

    Yes, I agree.  Furthermore …

    “If voting made any difference, it would be illegal,” — Philip Berrigan

    And …

    “The liberal class … which has refused to defy the exploitation or galvanize behind militants to halt the destruction of the ecosystem, has become a useless appendage….  The human race is about to be abruptly reminded of the fragility of life and the danger of hubris.”
    — Chris Hedges, Death of the Liberal Class, p. 194

  13. David Goldstein says:

    I am waiting for this day (I wonder if it will ever come): an administration spokesperson is assuring reporters that the Arctic drilling or the Keystone Pipeline or whatever other new oil extraction venture is ‘safe and will not result in oil spills’ and a reporter days “Wait a second, who cares about the oil spills? They are almost irrelevant compared to the extra 14 ppm CO2 that this venture alone will add to the atmosphere. The implications for approaching tipping points and related costs and suffering are simply staggering-to approve this venture is basically a Crime Against Humanity…what do you have to say about that?!?”……ahhhh, a guy can dream, can’t he?

  14. Lou Grinzo says:

    Before the ludicrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision the political system in the US was already badly tainted by money, to the point of being obviously broken. Now, the situation is even worse.

    While it’s long been impossible for the pure to be elected President, the further corruption of politics in the US, especially including this step-change triggered by the CU case, has moved the demarcation line between “electable” and “unelectable” yet again, and not in a direction that benefits human beings and the environment. Instead of choosing between “good” and “less good”, or even between “acceptable” and “bad”, we’re now forced to choose between “bad” and “mind-blowingly bad”.

    In other words, come election day I will vote for President Obama, simply because even with all his faults on the topic I care about the most, he’s still light years better than would be President Romney.

  15. John Benton says:

    Funny (not funny ha ha but funny like that sure is a funny shade of vomit I just yacked up) how we all think Global Warming is going to take down civilization. Wrong! It’s money in politics pure and simple. With money in politics even the simplest most basic truths are twisted into profitable lies. Right = Left = $$$ for them & death to the rest!

  16. Mark says:

    Did he really say that? He was kidding probably.

    And, we’re told, Obama and his gang, are supposed to be better than the other guys.

    Where will Romney drill, that Obama won’t? Nowhere, cause this proves that there’s nowhere Obama won’t drill.

    I would summarize the times we live in with one word:


  17. Rakesh Malik says:

    No, these are most certainly not amateurs.

    They’re not even making a pretense of intelligent decision making, they’re clearly just basing their decisions on the bribes.

    Most of them are lawyers, which gives them exactly no skills and/or knowledge that are in any way useful for running a country.

  18. Mark Shapiro says:

    The oil industry is powerful beyond our imagination.

    And the coal industry is not far behind.

  19. Mark Shapiro says:

    Obama has indeed failed to stop the oil, coal, and gas industries.

    But he did not fail alone.

    Obama and I together failed to stop the oil, coal, and gas industries. Obama and I and all of us here together failed. Obama and I and all of our blog posts and comments and petitions and phone calls failed.

    So let’s keep working the problem. Recognize the size of the problem, recognize the power of the oil industry, and keep working.

  20. Mark Shapiro says:

    The oil industry has trillions of dollars of annual cash flow. It has hundreds of billions of annual profits. It has seasoned executive teams, and the best advertising, marketing, public relations, and lobbying that money can buy.

    It has lawyers, paramilitary security teams, and Citizens United.

    It has the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, AM radio, several universities, many academics, Inhofe, Barton, Manchin and at least one or two other politicians.

    It has hundreds of millions of loyal customers, including every military on Eaarth.

    President Obama has us. Anybody else here see the mismatch?