Yesterday, Florida Senate candidate Marc Rubio (R-FL) waffled on the dangers of offshore drilling even as his state’s beaches were being destroyed by the BP oil disaster. “I hope we reach a point where we don’t use any petroleum,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “but in the short term, the truth is that America has to increase its domestic energy production.” Rubio said that he only wanted more deep-water drilling “if it can be done safely,” but then claimed that it’s “being done safely all over the world”:
So now you’re talking about deep-water drilling. And I only want to see it if it can be done safely. And that’s why it’s so important that we study why this happened. And if you tell me we’re going to have to put up with a couple of more of these, of course not. But can it be done safely? There is evidence that it can be done safely. It’s being done safely all over the world.
Rubio’s claim that drilling “can be done safely” only holds water if one ignores BP’s catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the catastrophic Montara blowout in Australia last year, and the litany of deaths, pipeline ruptures, leaks, spills, tanker collisions, fires, and mechanical failures that occur every year in every corner of the world being drilled for oil and natural gas. Quite simply, the evidence proves that offshore drilling isn’t safe. Sadly, no amount of study or preparation can reduce the risk of catastrophic drilling accidents — Nassim Taleb’s “black swans” — to zero. Rubio is in dangerous denial.
Rubio also attacked one of his opponents for the Senate, Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), saying that “he was one of the leaders of the ‘drill, baby, drill’ chant just a couple of years ago when he was hoping to become Senator McCain’s vice presidential choice.” Ironically, while Crist did flip-flop on his stance on offshore drilling from opposition to cautious support to opposition again, it is Rubio himself who appeared in advertisements for Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future, repeating the slogan “Drill Here, Drill Now.”
Cross-posted on the Wonk Room.