04 June 2010


In a moment of illogic which surpasses even her usual raving, Sarah Palin is blaming environmentalists for causing the Gulf oil disaster. Her reasoning? If those concerned with protecting nature and wilderness hadn't insisted on laws protecting fragile habitats, we could be doing "safer" shallow-water drilling in pristine places like Alaska's North Slope. This is akin to blaming those who insisted on laws against rape, after a woman has abducted and assaulted at a remote location, rather than on Main Street. I can only shake my head and cringe. Uh, Sarah? BP would have screwed up a shallow-water scenario too. BP would have screwed up a train wreck. All oceanic drilling should be halted indefinitely. The risks are too great.

We now know that the US Coast Guard, like most thoughtful observers, foresaw the potential for monumental disaster long before BP or the Administration admitted to it. Too bad the Coasties aren't in command of the oil rig sealing and cleanup -- everyone else is dragging their feet like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Here's a potential paradigm shift for national and international law. We have a definition for crimes against humanity, why not one for crimes against the Earth? Here's a thoughtful discussion of that very concept, as it applies to the Gulf oil spill. I would dearly love to see a legal precedent set, though it will take years to do so. We need clear, consistent standards for any human conduct which impacts the environment, including adherence to comprehensive safety protocols, and severe felony consequences for violations. It will be interesting to see how the BP-Halliburton-Transocean monstrosity plays out, who pays for damages and who dodges the bullet. CEOs, former Vice-Presidents and other miscreants should not be immune from prosecution.

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