To support the Big Oil agenda of increased offshore drilling, conservatives have been telling the American public that there weren’t any major spills caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for an entire month. The following video shows Sen. McCain (R-AZ), Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer, former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), and Sen. McCain (again).
All of these people are polluter-funded, from McCain on down. As Idaho governor, Kempthorne served the interests of the energy industries that funded him. Nancy Pfotenhauer was the top D.C. lobbyist for the right-wing energy company Koch Industries, and Lott is now a lobbyist for Chevron, Shell, and the Edison Chouest Offshore drilling rig company. Stephen Moore, like Pfotenhauer, received his economics degree from George Mason University, before working at the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, then founding the Club for Growth and the Free Enterprise Fund. George Mason, Heritage, and the Cato Institute are all funded by Koch money.They appeared on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox Business Network, Fox News, and MSNBC, but were never challenged for their false claims.
As the Wonk Room has reported, the clear satellite evidence of major spills was borne out by final reports. In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) published their offshore damage assessment: “113 platforms totally destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10″ or larger diameter.”
Unsurprisingly, this devastation caused significant spillage, according to the official report prepared for the MMS by a Norwegian firm:
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused 124 Offshore Spills For A Total Of 743,700 Gallons. 554,400 gallons were crude oil and condensate from platforms, rigs and pipelines, and 189,000 gallons were refined products from platforms and rigs. [MMS, 1/22/07]
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused Six Offshore Spills Of 42,000 Gallons Or Greater. The largest of these was 152,250 gallons, well over the 100,000 gallon threshhold considered a “major spill.” [MMS, 5/1/06]
In addition, the hurricanes caused disastrous spills onshore throughout southeast Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast as tanks, pipelines, refineries and other industrial facilities were destroyed, for a total of 595 different oil spills. The 9 million gallons reported spilled were comparable with the Exxon Valdez’s 10.8 million gallons, but unlike the Exxon Valdez, were distributed throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and other Gulf Coast states, many in residential areas. The most massive spills included:
Sen. Sanders (I): Public safety must be job #1. I must express serious concerns about aging fleet of 104 plants. Need more oversight of those first. Oversight is quite weak. I think many people don’t know what is going on. Nuclear plant in VT. “Failure of NRC oversight.” August 21, 2007 — a water tower collapsed. How much did Entergy pay for that mishap? None.
Then Aug. 30 emergency shutdown. Last week — leaking coolant pipe. End result. Confidence is not high. People have concerns. I share them. Inexplicable there were no fines. Confidence requires more oversight. We are grossly underestimating the role of energy efficiency and renewables. Within 15 years, 20% of power could be from solar thermal alone.
And then we have everybody’s favorite global warming denier.
Obviously I’m not going to be blogging during my own panel [Note to self: Hmm. Suppose you used your voice dictation system to transcribe your words to text....].
But I will squeeze in some blogging during the first panel, with the Members’ Statements and the testimony of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission commissioners.
Wow. Big turnout. Small room. Standing room only. Six Senators, including Inhofe!
Sen. Carper (D-chair): … create a strong nuclear power industry…. Air pollution reductions…. Nuclear energy is carbon-free. Provides good jobs…. Our country needs nuclear power…. 34 new nukes may be built in next 10 to 15 years…. One word is key for nuclear Renaissance: Safety.
Sen. Voinovich (R): High gas prices. Energy prices are “a form of regressive tax.” Energy independence. Bridge to a carbon-constrained world. Nuclear power must play an increasing role. “Renewable energy sources are intermittent and unreliable.”
You only get 5 minutes of oral testimony for the Senate or the House, about 700 to 750 words if you talk reasonably fast. I have done a fair amount of testifying over the years, so now I always write out my oral testimony and then read it.
Yes, reading text is not as ideal as simply speaking extemporaneously — but five minutes is so short that if you don’t write it out, you’ll end up saying a lot less and certainly leave out a bunch of important things.
How many times do you actually get to talk to a member of Congress when they (technically) have to listen — it is a “hearing” after all? Not bloody often, so make your best of it.
One important note — most Congressional testimony is so unbelievably bland that members tune out almost immediately. Like any story or pitch, you either catch people’s interest in the opening seconds or you are wasting your time (and theirs). This goes double for a speech that is read.
My written testimony is mostly a shortened version of my Center for American Progress report, “The Self-limiting Future of Nuclear Power.” The oral testimony is below. Since I am going last or next-to-last on the second panel, I may change some of these remarks at the last minute to rebut or respond to other points.
You’ve thrown the worst fear… that can ever be hurled… afraid to bring children… into the world… and for threatening my baby… unborn and unnamed… you ain’t worth the blood that runs in your veins… Let me ask you one question… is your money that good… will it buy you forgiveness… do you think that it could?… I think you will find… when your death takes its toll… all the money you made will never buy back your soul… — Bob Dylan, “Masters of War”
In May 2007, the White House published a photograph of Lynne and Dick Cheney proudly introducing their sixth grandchild to the world. The question is: When Samuel David Cheney grows up, how proud will he be of his grandfather?
A year later, the White House published photos of President George W. Bush with his daughter, Jenna, at her wedding – the first of the Bush twins to take a husband. The question is: When they come of age, what will Jenna’s yet-unborn children think of their grandfather?
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.