"BP: The Sequel"

"Power Shift 2011"
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It’s painful to even try to imagine the panic that was the Deepwater Horizon oil rig this time last year. Eleven lives were lost and thousands more have been impacted by the 87-day oil gusher that followed. And yet, though we would wish it weren’t so– there’s little rest or peace to be found one year later.

Public Citizen’s energy program director Tyson Slocum asked the question that’s been on the tips of so many tongues in an op-ed on the front page of the Huffington Post Green yesterday,

Must we wait for “BP: The Sequel” to see change?

“The most political event I have been involved in.” These are the words retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen used to describe his involvement in the BP disaster, see here.  And indeed, sadly, it’s just becoming increasingly more political. Evidently, part of BP’s long-range plan to get out of the doghouse after last year’s disaster in the Gulf involves giving money to members of Congress. BP has donated $29,000 to lawmakers this election cycle, most to Republican leaders. In addition, BP’s political action committee had $332,408 at the end of the month according to Politico.

However, if there is a BP the sequel, which Tyson Slocum argues in the HuffingtonPost could easily happen tomorrow, there will be plenty of blame to spread around Washington. Public Citizen has been pushing for movement, saying of the oil spill commission report: “The recommendations are not worth the paper they are written on if Congress doesn’t embrace and enact the reforms.” And yet, Congress has been holding hearings focused on how the oil drilling permit process is too slow, while Obama’s department of interior has allowed for a moratorium lift in the Gulf permitting grandfathered-in contracts to resume drilling. Slocum points out this is appalling given, “. . . recently, we learned that blowout preventers – the one piece of equipment that was supposed to be a fail-safe way to prevent an endless gusher – can fail if the force of oil is too strong.”

One year after our nation’s worst environmental catastrophe, Congress and the Obama administration look out of touch compared to the thousands of young activists that took over D.C. this past weekend demanding answers, real reforms and an end to the appeasement of Big Oil. These young activists are looking for a power shift and in the next elections, residents of the Gulf Coast, environmentalists, health and safety advocates and others might just join them in that cause.

Do your part: go to our Beyond BP page today and click on links to tell Washington lawmakers to start doing their job if they want to keep their jobs. And, while you are at it– help us make sure everyone knows how far we haven’t come by going to Tyson Slocum’s HuffingtonPost op-ed, BP Oil Spill: It Could Happen Again and sharing it with your friends and neighbors.