Spill, baby, spill?

by Jake Breedlove

The April 20 offshore oil platform explosion that left 11 workers dead was initially described as an accident. In truth, the tragic loss of human life has evolved into nothing short of environmental catastrophe. As I write this letter, the estimated volume of oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico will exceed 3 and one-third million gallons as the sunken oil platform leaks an estimated 210,000 gallons per day. At the same time, the American taxpayer is financing the United StatesâÄô military effort to augment British PetroleumâÄôs dismal cleanup response. Thousands of American workers have had their means of employment evaporate in response to the federal government’s suspension of the coastal statesâÄô successful fishing, oyster and shrimping operations. Yet, the oil has not even reached shore, and the most disheartening consequences wonâÄôt be known for years to come. Think back to the 2008 Republican National Convention that Minneapolis and St. Paul had the economic pleasure of hosting. The chants âÄúDrill, Baby, Drill!âÄù and âÄúDrill here, drill now!âÄù come to mindâĦor was it âÄúSpill, Baby, Spill?âÄù I think it is quite clear the Republicans got this one wrong. Enter President Obama who has skillfully crafted the US response efforts thus far. A suspension of new offshore drilling, an impressively broad environmental response, and pushing for legislation that would eliminate the 75 million dollar cap on BPâÄôs liability are well deserving of praise. In recent years, opponents of new offshore drilling projects have displayed an observable lack of willpower and political leverage, but this spill has occurred mere weeks after a West Virginian coalmine disaster. Surely, this warrants an increase in both public opinion and Congressional appetite for President ObamaâÄôs energy and climate legislation. Now more than ever, Mr. ObamaâÄôs Cap and Trade legislation deserves to pass. Jake Breedlove University undergraduate student