When it comes to national oil drilling policy, the facts on the ground have changed. Instead of leaning on the myth that technology had made oil spill disasters obsolete, the Administration must now face what could become the largest oil spill disaster in our history. Clearly this is not the time to expand drilling as if nothing had changed. The threats to places like the Arctic coast, where there isn’t a fleet of Coast Guard vessels to respond to oil spills, are too great to open up more areas to offshore drilling.
Instead, we should be stepping back, calling a timeout on new offshore drilling, and building a new policy on a foundation that is not mired in an oil slick. Part of that new foundation must be a clean energy bill that moves away from, not towards, new drilling. Trying to clean up our fouled climate with new incentives for drilling is like trying to stop cancer while subsidizing smoking.
The future lies with solar panels shimmering on our rooftops, not oil shimmering in our coastal wetlands and arctic tundra – and as the cleanup continues in Louisiana, in Washington we should be discussing how move away from oil dependence, not how to increase it.
A version of this blog also appeared in National Journal.