No more Blind Faith in Oil

No more Blind Faith in Oil

We are excited by Sally Jewell's confirmation as Interior Secretary. Her background as the head of REI might make her more favorable to conservation, or at least more aware of the economic values of recreation and conservation – not just hunting, ranching and drilling.

But we also know she used to be an oil engineer. That part of her resume, along with Obama's "all of the below" energy policy means it was inevitable that she would eventually go on trips like this recent one to a Chevron oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico where she will be inclined to say some frankly pretty stupid stuff about Big Oil. Like this:

“Oil and gas production from the Gulf of Mexico plays an important role in powering our nation and strengthening our economy,” said Jewell. “The Department of the Interior will continue to work with industry to ensure that these resources are developed safely and responsibly, while also delivering a fair return to the American taxpayer, businesses and communities.”"

The return to our planet? Not so fair.

As if we needed another dose of irony for an industry that's had rigs explode in the gulf as recently as a few months ago: The oil rig Sec. Jewell visited is named Blind Faith! I happen to think that is way more accurate slogan than either "Drill, baby Drill" OR "All of the Above. Because, really, what the oil and gas industry wants from us is blind faith – in their ability to drill without spilling (they can't) to drill in new and untrammeled wilderness like the arctic, and to be take that oil, drilled in more and more remote areas of the planet, and ship it farther and farther through pipelines with no consequences

But we aren't blind. And I hope President Obama and Sally Jewell aren't either. They know full well that oil and gas drilling will despoil our climate. But as long as the oil companies can claim to have our "blind faith" in their good intentions, their necessity, their inevitability, you wont see many elected leaders stand up to them.

We need leaders who will replace that blind faith with some real, searching, critical questions. The kind of questions our movement to end oil subsidies and dirty pipelines are raising. If they listen we might just get a cleaner, more sustainable world, not just a press junket to a platform that's built to spill. So what should President Obama and his cabinet members be doing, rather than visiting oil rigs? Obama can and should say "NO" to five of the 14 biggest climate-killing projects in the world:

  1. The Canadian tar sands, which the President can stop by saying "NO" to the Keystone XL pipeline.
  2. Arctic oil, which the President said yes to in his first term, but can and should reconsider this decision since even Shell instituted a moratorium on it.
  3. American fracked gas, which has expanded way too fast already, despite serious safety and environmental concerns and the President now supports exporting to other countries. .
  4. American coal exports — which a deep and diverse coalition has successfully blocked thus far, but will likely keep coming up since we're fighting desperate (and big) coal companies.
  5. And, Offshore oil drilling, especially in the Gulf of Mexico like the rig that Jewell visited and bragged about

While you think about that cleaner, more sustainable future, here's a musical interlude. Two of the former members of Blind Faith singing "Can't Find My Way Home," a problem we'll all have if we don't take care of the only home-planet any of us will ever have.