Energy & Environment

Protecting our government from corporate influence (Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Sherrod Brown)

Over these last two months we have watched the unfolding disaster in the Gulf with horror. We have seen precious lives lost; hard-earned livelihoods hammered; treasured ways of life imperiled. But we have seen something else too — something that ought to be a lasting lesson from this catastrophe: we have seen a federal agency fall captive to the industry it is supposed to regulate.


Bachmann stance on BP cleanup is indefensible (State Sen. Tarryl Clark)

Michele Bachmann is in an oily hole. And she’s still digging.

Despite repeated opportunities to apologize or back down from her misguided opposition to efforts to hold British Petroleum (BP) – and not taxpayers -- accountable for the costs of their oil spill, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann continues to stand up for BP. It’s outrageous.


The Big Question: Should BP still be allowed to drill?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today. ...

Today's question:

Should BP be allowed to continue offshore drilling in the United States?


Simple answer to 'who should pay?' (Rep. Jay Inslee)

"Who should pay?"

It's a straightforward question. Yet last week, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said both BP and the federal government were responsible, and both should pay. He knew he really stepped in it - because he couldn't retreat from that statement fast enough.


An energy policy for grown-ups (Sen. Alexander)

The tragic Gulf oil spill has produced overreaction ("end offshore drilling"), demagoguery ("Obama's Katrina") and bad policy recommendations ("We must generate 20% of our electricity from windmills"). None of this helps clean up and move forward. If we want both clean energy and a high standard of living, here are 10 steps for thoughtful grown-ups:


American wind turbines sound like freedom

The sound that American wind turbines produce as their giant, breeze-propelled blades whip around is a distinctive: Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh-neh.

The anticipation is that those energy-generating, whirling arms would create a whooshing sound. And maybe they do in some countries. But here, in America, they echo the almost melodic taunt of a schoolyard victor -- Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh-neh: You can’t get me.


Waive the Jones Act to assist the oil spill cleanup (Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson)

Senator Hutchinson delivered the below speech on the Senate floor last night and introduced the bill to waive the Jones Act to assist the oil spill clean up this morning. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. LeMieux (R-Fla.) and Cornyn (R-Texas).

The Jones Act was put in place in 1920 to ensure that the United States was able to maintain a fleet of merchant ships. So it was really for protection - flagged carriers against competition from foreign carriers that might undercut our ability to have profitable merchant ships. The Jones Act is currently preventing resources, however, from being used in the massive cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. This legislation that has been on the books since 1920 is hindering foreign vessels from assisting Gulf communities, as they work to prevent oil from reaching their shores. Currently, foreign vessels need to obtain a Jones Act waiver from the federal government in order to help with the cleanup efforts. For many of the vessels wishing to respond, this request needs to be reviewed by three separate agencies: The coast guard, the maritime administration and customs and border protection. That is three layers of bureaucracy when time is of the essence. During this crisis, we need to cut through the red tape we must get all available assets on the scene as quickly as possible. I think everyone agrees – and other countries have offered their services; they've offered to help. There are European countries that also drill in the oceans and waters on their shores, and they've offered to send ships to help to try to absorb the oil and skim it off. There are volunteers waiting with the right equipment, and they're willing to come to our aid.


BP needs to come up with answers to our questions (Rep. John D. Dingell)

Yesterday’s hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward was not surprising, but yet still a terrible disappointment. Chairmen Stupak and Waxman sent Mr. Hayward a letter at the beginning of the week laying out the several issues found during the investigation and asked that he be prepared to answer questions about those issues. Sadly, Mr. Hayward obfuscated and evaded the Committee’s questions to the point where Congressman Stearns asked if at the very least, Mr. Hayward could confirm that the day was Thursday. This was one of the few firm answers Mr. Hayward gave during his nearly eight hours testifying before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.


Reverse the drilling moratorium in the Gulf (Rep. Pete Olson)

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was a tragedy for eleven families, and an environmental disaster for the entire Gulf Coast region.  The impacts are far-reaching, affecting industries across the spectrum.  Make no mistake, BP has the ultimate responsibility to clean up the disaster in the Gulf and needs to make things right with those affected by this spill.  I fully support all efforts to ensure they fairly compensate the industries and region that have been impacted by this disaster.


Values are at the core of ad critiquing Sen. Graham

Our television ad calling into question Senator Graham’s credibility as an arbiter on the best and most realistic path forward on energy policy has been getting a lot of attention recently. A number of people are asking why a group that ran a major statewide radio campaign in South Carolina praising Sen. Graham a few months ago would chose to run this ad now.