One month ago today the Gulf Oil Spill disaster took place. It's been a month where all of the good and bad of the debate on clean energy and our country's future has been plain for all to see.
It's almost hard to pick out specific highlights and lowlights. This is my personal top list and feel free to add in yours in the comments.
The slow realization that this rig was allowed to be drilled without the proper permitting or safety features; safety features that are mandatory in the rest of the world, was sadly expected. It's clear that the federal officials in charge of making sure that this rig was safe and that back-up systems were in place, officials from both administrations, Bush and Obama, failed us.
The almost immediate and completely disgusting partisan split on the issue was really troubling to see, even from someone who is used to it. The fact that the Republicans even launched an Energy Rapid Response Team to push for more off shore drilling as the spill kept spilling was really despicable. And that continues to the day, making it clear I think that the lines are drawn on this issue and it's the American people who are going to have to decide.
The fact that the spill is still spilling one month later is not a shock but a a tragic consequence of our nation's dependence on oil. As long as we are willing to pay $3 or more per gallon of gas, someone will get that oil out of the ground for us – no matter the consequence.
One thing that has been hugely concerning to me as someone who spends a lot of time working in the environmental space online is frankly the lack of outrage. Yes, when the three Stooges went to Washington and blamed each other, there was some outrage. But people still go to BP gas stations, people are not, I do not think, outraged enough about the spill, its impact. I wonder if this is because many know, deep down, that they each own a little bit of that oil spill because of our communal addiction to oil and an oil-based economy.
Today, on the month anniversary of the spill, I think we all need to take a moment and realize what the spill really means – the devastation in the Gulf is a reflection of our collective failure to force Washington and our elected officials to act on clean energy and propel our country, and our economy, powerfully forward. We have, collectively, allowed Washington to stall and wait and literally do nothing for three decades, ever since Jimmy Carter tried to lead the way forward on the issue.
Today, we must stand up.
Robert Redford has a great new spot out working with NRDC (with whom I also work) talking about this simple fact – that video is here.
We need leadership from the White House and from Washington on this issue and we need it now.
Sadly, in the current political climate, leadership happens when Americans force the issue. So please click through, sign the letter, post this on Facebook, Tweet it.