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Entries in Oil Spill (2)

Tuesday
Apr192011

BP Oil Spill Complicates Obama's Clean Energy Push

U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One year after the largest oil spill in the nation's history began unfolding along the Gulf Coast, George Moorman of Lucedale, Mississippi, says he and hundreds of other former BP sub-contractors hired to clean up the mess continue to suffer from its consequences.

"It's horrible down there, still," Moorman, 52, told ABC News as he took part in a protest Monday outside the White House.  He said oil continues to wash ashore along with dead wildlife, and that the workers who toiled in 100-degree heat for months last summer have become sick after inhaling the toxic fumes.

"We're not here to get a check.  We're here to get it right," he said.

The refrain has become a common one for victims of the spill and eco-activists who say the Obama administration and Congress have failed to keep their promises of tougher environmental regulation and new policies to wean the country from its addiction to oil.

There has been no major legislative action on the environment in the past year, despite Obama's calls to curtail offshore drilling and promote ambitious new goals for clean energy.

The House passed the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, which would among other things, cap emissions and increase energy efficiency in buildings, home appliances and power plants.  But Democrats failed in several attempts to move similar legislation in the Senate, and with the Republican takeover of the House, prospects now seem even dimmer.

Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter introduced a bill last week that would direct 80 percent of the penalties BP pays under the Clean Water Act toward restoring the coastal ecosystem and the region's economy.  Landrieu and Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, plan to introduce another bill that would lift the cap on liability for offshore oil spills.

But for many, the piecemeal approach is not enough.  And they blame the White House for not taking a more aggressive stance.

"Congress is subsidizing BP with billions of dollars," said Courtney Hight, executive director of the Energy Action Coalition and a former organizer for the Obama campaign.  "We need President Obama to stand with us, stand against polluters and make them pay."

Hight and other activists have accused the administration of being too friendly to major American energy companies, citing the inclusion of so-called clean coal, natural gas and nuclear power under the umbrella of a "clean energy" plan Obama rolled out last month.

They're also frustrated the administration is siding with major energy companies in a major Supreme Court case brought by environmental groups seeking the ability to sue over pollution levels.  The Obama administration wants the Environmental Protection Agency, not the courts, to retain regulatory power.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr042011

Louisiana Rep. Richmond: Let BP Drill Again in the Gulf

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Word that BP is seeking to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico presents a challenge for the Obama administration, which is seeking to increase domestic oil production even as the Justice Department mulls possible criminal charges against the company in connection with an accident investigation that’s still ongoing.

But on Rep. Cedric Richmond -- a Democrat who represents New Orleans in Congress -- tells ABC News it’s important not to “penalize BP for the incident” by denying the company the right to drill, provided the company goes through the proper permitting process.”

“They should be able to drill, as long as they follow the same rules that everybody else is following,” Richmond, D-La., said. “We don't want to penalize BP for the incident. We want them to, of course, make citizens whole that were affected, and we'll never forget that we lost 11 lives in that incident.

“So we don't want a repeat of it, which is why the permitting process has been revamped and they're making sure that the safeguards are in place so we don't have another Horizon accident. … If BP can make it through that then I think they should be allowed to drill.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday denied reports in the British press that BP has already reached a deal with the U.S. government to resume drilling. But he made clear that BP will be allowed to resume operations in the Gulf if and when the company shows that it will be able to comply with new regulations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







ABC News Radio