Guest Post: Gulf Oil Spill Threatens Halt To White House Offshore Drilling Plans

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Gulf Oil Spill Threatens Halt to White House Offshore Drilling Plans

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from a collapsed offshore drilling rig could affect White House plans to extend offshore drilling, press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged as the oil slick threatened onshore sites from the Louisiana wetlands to the Sarasota beaches and disrupted fishing and energy industries.

As oil giant BP mobilized resources to try to stop the leak and to mitigate its damage, President Barack Obama called the spill “potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.”

However, some critics charged that the administration’s slow response to the rig accident and Obama’s decision to take part in the humorous proceedings at the White House Correspondents Dinner as the disaster unfolded has been as bad as the Bush administration’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson called on Obama to impose an immediate moratorium on offshore oil exploration. “Until we learn what happened, I’m asking that you also call for an immediate halt to test wells and all other exploratory operations in coastal waters,” Nelson wrote in a letter to the president.

Nelson also said he was filing legislation to block the Interior Department from going ahead with the White House plans to lease further sites for offshore exploration.

Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner asked in a blog whether the oil spill from Deepwater Horizon might be for the offshore oil industry what the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was for the nuclear industry – stopping further development dead in its tracks.

“Could the Gulf disaster be just the kind of tragic, visible, easy-to-comprehend event that crystallizes the already-growing rush to de-petroleum our economy?” asks Dubner, who popularized behavioural economics with his book. “As we’ve seen before, public sentiment can generate an awful lot of energy on its own, for better or worse.”

The oil slick posed a more immediate disruption to the U.S. energy industry, as it threatened to close shipping lanes to oil imports destined for Gulf coast refineries and forced the evacuation of other oil and natural gas drilling rigs, sometimes with a shutdown in production. For now, the main pass into the Mississippi delta, the Southwest Pass, remains free.


By. Darrell Delamaide for who offer detailed analysis on Crude oil, Geopolitics, Gold and most other Commodities. They also provide free political and economic intelligence to help investors gain a greater understanding of world events and the impact they have on certain regions and sectors. Visit:

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Rainman's picture

Why am I hearing a lot of spec on sabotage being the cause ??

If true, the greens or the crap and tax crowd used a little too much dynamite.

chet's picture

"Why am I hearing a lot of spec on sabotage being the cause ??"

Because Limbaugh is a couple bottles short of a six-pack.

Adam Neira's picture

In Australia we would say he is a few kangaroos short in the top paddock, but who's quibbling.

Mad Max's picture

You might say his elevator only goes to the second floor.

dark pools of soros's picture

is that where the pharmacy is located?

TBT or not TBT's picture

The administration must have thought the same thing, at least at a precautionary level.  Otherwise, what were the SWAT teams the president sent to other rigs in the gulf meant to do there?   Note that the administration as also a few beers short of a six pack too.

Mitchman's picture

I sleep SO much better at night knowing that if it was sabotage, Big Sis Napolitano is on the case!

Mad Max's picture

From what I've read elsewhere, those "SWAT" teams were in fact oil rig inspectors inspecting safety-related issues on oil rigs, in response.  That is to say, they were not military commandos looking for terrorists.

Tart's picture

I live on the south east gulf coast; we got our last shrimp Tuesday. This massive disaster threatens to turn the Gulf into the Dead Sea. We here in Louisiana got shit on for Katrina; they said we shouldn't even rebuild the city of New Orleans. It's about time this shit hits the rest of the country. It's about time for this to spread to the other states and up the east coast. Let these other bastards feel the pain; those that think the economy is doing great. Looks like my brother may finally find a job cleaning up the mess here which will probably last 20 plus years as the tar balls that for the time being are hidden from the surface roll up on the beaches and kill the coral and marine life. This whole bull shit rally from March '09 has been nothing but a dead cat bounce correction in a down trend and formed the last shoulder on a head and shoulders top. Meltdown USA mofo's!

chet's picture

Hang in there.  I agree that this will have terrible consequences for some time to come.  You guys have gotten much more than your fair share of pain lately.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Hang in there?  Are you nuts?  The trend is your friend; more to come.  They don't call it Loseriana for nothing.


RichardENixon's picture

You might not be laughing if this thing starts spewing 40,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil into the gulf every day with no chance of a cap, which a lot of oil people are saying is a distinct possibility. That's curtains for everybody.

Sudden Debt's picture

they should better start preparing for the "NON-chrimp coctails"... the horor...

leftcoastfool's picture

"Looks like my brother may finally find a job cleaning up the mess here which will probably last 20 plus years as the tar balls that for the time being are hidden from the surface roll up on the beaches and kill the coral and marine life. "


OMG!  Don't give Harry Wanger any more reasons to be bullish!  I can hear him now... new jobs created cleaning up monumental mess in the Gulf...  BUY!  BUY!

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Meltdown USA mofo's!


Real Wealth's picture
by Gordon_Gekko


Meltdown USA mofo's!



        Grow up Gekko.   Have you really thought about your chances of survival to ever spend your gold in the whole screw the USA, gold to infinity scenario? 



Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

I am hoping that he builds a pool with a water slide and has parties on the weekends.

Hephasteus's picture

Have em send me his scope dialing targets and I'll issue a survival default swap on him if he's under 1 minute of accuracy.

Psquared's picture

Yeah, I think this will be Obama's Katrina - though despite its murky, gunky mass I doubt it will stick like Katrina did to Bush. Obama could have done quite a few things -- not the least of which was mobilize the Navy. They could have surrounded the oil slick and ordered it to surrender. But seriously folks, what could have been done other than just more "talk?" At best he might have managed the PR better by at least appearing to throw a TARP over it.

theworldisnotenough's picture

Yes the navy coul have been mobilized and surrounded the oil slick and not ordered it to surrender, but could have burned it off. The military and National Guard could hvae been mobilized to use chicken feathers to mop up the oil. If this had been done on day two or even day five the mass pollution could have been avoided.

Sudden Debt's picture

Just got KFC on the phone! As we speak, they are contacting Captain Iglo to figure out a plan!

Psquared's picture

I suppose, but as I understand it the well is leaking over 200,000 barrels a day one mile down. Not much you can do as that oil surfaces miles away in all directions. Burning would have created a huge black oily plume which would have done damage itself and only burned the oil on the surface.

This is a huge mess and the timing just could not be worse. Remember, the GD was exacerbated by dust storms and droughts that made farming impossible and forced 10s of thousands to move to California to seek work. The black cloud of dust even got as far east ast New York and Washington, DC. Black swan events are things that can throw a precarious economy into a tailspin.

But I mainly feel for the people whose livelihood depends on fishing, shrimping and the resort business. I just pray this does not rise to "epic" proportions - but it may already have.

divide_by_zero's picture

Read that in surface area the spill is already the size of Delaware. But burning can remove 75% or more of the crude, (yeah air pollution but better than the alternative) however the rate the crude is coming out at would require many booms to keep up with. This black swan will be covered in crude, with the potential to poison most of the world's oceans if it gets in the gulf stream. Much like the financial meltdown, epic failure in both private and public sectors from a system in deep capture.

AnAnonymous's picture

I wonder if air pollution would be the only consequence.

Quite easy to check: take your own flamer or borrow one from one of the many gun ho site regulars and burn it up. You might die in the process but empirical science will grow victorious.

Alienated Serf's picture

umm, did anyone notice there were awful rainstorms in the gulf for the past couple days.  makes it a little harder to burn the oil and has disperesed it even more.

jkruffin's picture

This is what you get when you vote for change, yet the man you vote for is in bed with the bankers taking miilions in campagin money, and you find out there never was going to be any change to begin with.  Americans never do their homework when it comes to voting.  Maybe we need to change the system after all.

Debtless's picture

Unfortunately the other guy in the race was an asshole too.


Dirtt's picture

Unfortunate to the Nth degree.  McCain was up to his eyeballs in the Liar Loan racket.

Psquared's picture

As are they all. Dodd, McConnell, Shelby, Frank, Pelosi ... all of them. I can't name one that didn't take big money from banks and continue to do so. Remember when TARP was up for a vote. There were first hand reports of bank lobbyists hanging out in the bathrooms in the Senate and Congressional Office buildings.

Rainman's picture

So when was the last time we weren't voting for one asshole or the other ?

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

This is why I only vote for city and county measures/positions.

Sudden Debt's picture

America got the change they wanted right?

Instead of going forward, it's now "changed" into going backward.

Rainman's picture

North Korea ?? Now that would not surprise me at all. Tin Foil hat on.

sangell's picture

I know its an emotional issue but the facts are most big spills are from tankers. If this had been a big tanker bringing Venezuelan crude up to Gulf refineries it would have been worse. Over a million barrels all at once into the Gulf. So its not as if we end offshore drilling we end risk.

The arithmetic is simple. We have to import over 2/3's of our oil. Its coming in by sea. Stopping offshore production will not change that just deprive the economy of the value of oil produced in our waters.

Mitchman's picture

It really makes you proud that we spend $20-$30 billion a year on the Department of Energy which was going to make us energy independent for ever and ever and ever.

Hulk's picture

Folks had better start asking just what the hell has the DOE been doing for 30+ years.

Talking about moneypits....

John Self's picture

Gingrich said that he was going to shut it down.  Dept of Education too.  Shame that the class of '94 went so quickly from slightly revolutionary to revoltingly establishment.

kohoutek's picture

What now? Back to the Dick Cheney school of militarised energy policy, i.e. I-RAN?

Sudden Debt's picture

SSssstttt... don't spoil the surprise!

They don't know it yet, and otherwise they'll hide their weapons of mass destruction.

kohoutek's picture

If you want to see something quite scary, check this out:

Just a non-partisan charity that campaigns against nuclear proliferation in Iran....except it's made up of former members of the Bush administration, the CIA and Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Weaving spiders come not here!

carbonmutant's picture

Offshore Drilling Plans are a dead issue. Arnold has backed away from it in California and Obama is looking for someway to blame the Republicans for encouraging him lifting a the ban on it.


docj's picture

Yep - that Barry, a real Profile in Courage, he.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Obama doesn't mind, he is a masochist.

Cheeky Bastard's picture

Obama doesn't care, he is a sociopath.


There; I fixed it. 

hedgeless_horseman's picture

No, but try this:

Obama doesn't care, he is a black man raised by a single mother, so nothing is his fault. 

If only the Hawaiian Head Start program would have had more funding, or the U.S. would have given more foreign aid and subsidies to African goat herders like his father, then maybe, just maybe poor little Barry would have developed an ounce of accountability.

What?  I can dream.

Mad Max's picture

I could go with either Chumba's or Hedgeless's reinterpretation...