Oil Spill Threatens an Already Endangered Climate Bill

The Gulf Coast oil rig that exploded and sank last week is officially leaking oil into the ocean. It initially seemd that BP, who leased the rig, and Transocean, who operated it, had escaped the political complications and financial strain that would accompany an oil spill -- for whatever reason, oil did not seem to be seeping from the well.

Upon further investigation this weekend, the Coast Guard found that the well is leaking 1,000 barrels of oil a day, a spill the Guard has deemed "very serious." The oil sheen surrounding the sunken rig has spread from five to 400 square miles, though Louisiana's coast has not yet been affected. The Coast Guard has deployed four unmanned vehicles 5,000 feet below the water's surface in an attempt to activate a "blow-out preventer" that would help plug the leak.

If response teams can't get the spill under control within the next few days, it may affect climate politics. With Lindsey Graham pulling out of the Senate climate bill and taking potential Republican allies with him, Democratic leaders need every vote they can get. They can't afford to lose coastal Democrats Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, who criticized Obama's recent expansion of offshore drilling and threatened to withhold votes on a climate bill unless it included protections for New Jersey's shoreline. In a statement last week, they called the Louisiana spill a "sober reminder" of the risks of offshore drilling. 

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Content

  • Global Warming: Who Loses—and Who Wins?

    Climate change in the next century (and beyond) could be enormously disruptive, spreading disease and sparking wars. It could also be a windfall for some people, businesses, and nations. A guide to how we all might get along in a warming world. Apr 2007

  • Gut Reactions

    The termite’s stomach, of all things, has become the focus of large-scale scientific investigations. Could the same properties that make the termite such a costly pest help us solve global warming? Sep 2008

  • The California Experiment

    Busted budgets, failing schools, overcrowded prisons, gridlocked government—California no longer beckons as America’s promised land. Except, that is, in one area: creating a new energy economy. But is its path one the rest of the nation can follow? Oct 2009

  • Breaking the Global-Warming Gridlock

    Both sides on the issue of greenhouse gases frame their arguments in terms of science, but each new scientific finding only raises new questions -- dooming the debate to be a pointless spiral. It's time, the authors argue, for a radically new approach: if we took practical steps to reduce our vulnerability to today's weather, we would go a long way toward solving the problem of tomorrow's climate. Jul 2000

  • Global Warming: The Convenient Truth

    Slow-but-steady is not only the easiest approach to dealing with global warming; it is also the most effective. Mar 2007

Subscribe Now

SAVE 65%! 10 issues JUST $2.45 PER COPY

Newsletters

Sign up to receive our free newsletters

(sample)

(sample)

(sample)

(sample)

(sample)

(sample)

(sample)