Maybe you have heard about this, maybe you haven’t but Trump’s henchman, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a man whose name will become synonymous with many of this country’s greatest environmental disasters, has opened up the oceans for offshore oil drilling. The initial proposal, announced last week, includes “47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas — 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region. The five-year plan, covering 2019 to 2024, was initiated by the America First Offshore Energy Strategy directive Trump signed in April that could eventually open up Arctic waters and millions of coastal acres off U.S. shores to oil and gas drilling.”
Why is this bad? Real simple, it is not an if but when one of these oil rigs spills millions of gallons of toxic oil into the ocean and on to the beaches of our coastal states. The end results are always the same, wildlife is killed and fragile ecosystems are destroyed. And if this plan weren’t bad enough, our regulation cutting President has already reduced the burden of liability for big oil companies when those spills occur by providing them with a vehicle that distinguishes these occurrences between an accident (oops) and a blatant disregard for safety. The question we need to ask ourselves is who will judge the difference between the two?
The hard realty is oil rigs are always polluting the oceans to some degree. It is a simple fact of the industry. The difference today is that we limit the number of rigs, which limits the amount of incidental pollution but with the stroke of Trump’s mighty pen all that changed.
As you can imagine the Governors of these coastal states, both Republican and Democrats aren’t happy about this new change. All of these coastal areas, from South Carolina to California depend on tourism to provide jobs for their residents and tourist dollars for the economy. Imagine what an oil spill washing up on the beaches of Myrtle Beach, SC will do for the hotel and restaurant business there. I can promise you, it won’t be the picture they put in their ad in Southern Living magazine.
But guess what happened yesterday, Zinke after meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Tallahassee International Airport decided to exclude Florida from the plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. Yes, the same Florida that a certain President has a real estate investment or two in. The same Rick Scott who is contemplating and being highly encouraged by said President to run for Senator. This ladies and gentleman is the corruption of Trump and his administration in a nutshell.
If you live in a coastal state I highly encourage you to write your Senator(s) and tell them you want the same courtesy extended to your state that Trump gave to Florida. The bottom-line, this proposal is and will ultimately be a disaster for our environment and does nothing to lessen our thirst for crude oil. But again, why would a white, rich 71-year-old man give a shit what the world will be like 10, 20 or even 30 years from now. He doesn’t, we should.