Critics warn "absurd" Trump executive order on offshore drilling could spell another Deepwater Horizon

Nice things and why we can't have 'em.

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click to enlarge Critics warn "absurd" Trump executive order on offshore drilling could spell another Deepwater Horizon
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Much like the presidency of Donald J. Trump, Deepwater Horizon was one of those this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things moments in American history.

So it's fitting that Trump would close out his first 100 days in office by opening the door for another environmental and economic disaster like the one we saw in 2010.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order establishing a five-year plan for oil and gas development on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts that could expand the drilling that's already there and rolls back Obama-era equipment safety rules and restrictions on where companies can drill on the Atlantic and Arctic coasts.

It's basically a giant fuck you to environmental advocates, to coastal communities that saw their local economies tank in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon and to sea creatures in general. It's also probably another way to spite Trump's much smarter and much better-looking predecessor. 

Obviously, environmental advocates are pissed, especially in Florida, a state surrounded by water.

"Florida's coasts and oceans are home to stunning wildlife, beautiful beaches and support a robust tourism economy, all things that stand to lose from offshore drilling," said Environment Florida director Jennifer Rubiello in a media release. "The President’s action opens the door to expanded drilling into our public waters, including drilling that could threaten waters and coastal communities in the...Gulf of Mexico – a move that goes against the values a majority of Floridians share: that our oceans and beaches should be preserved, not sold off to the highest bidder.“

Rubiello urges those opposed to offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to come on down to the beach May 20 for this year's installment of Hands Across the Sand. Showing opposition to a practice that is unequivocally a threat to Florida's environment (not to mention unequivocally unpopular in the Sunshine State) could be about as important as it's ever been — especially when you throw things like sea-level rise, a phenomenon that more oil drilling will exacerbate — into the mix.

“Seven years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded causing the most massive oil spill in history, businesses, communities, and wildlife here in our Gulf region have yet to fully recover. This order exposes all of our oceans to similar risk of disaster,” Rubiello said. “To make matters worse, we are already experiencing record sea-level rise and extreme weather events fueled by climate change. We must not dig that hole any deeper by opening new areas to more drilling.”

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Pete) was Florida's governor seven years ago, as oil gushed out of the sea floor. 

Crist — who has always been notably pro-environment — also expressed worry over Trump's latest move.

"When Deepwater Horizon exploded, Floridians saw firsthand the catastrophic consequences of offshore drilling. Spills don't just devastate ecosystems – local economies that depend on the health of our environment and clean water also feel extreme pain," Crist said in a written statement sent to reporters. "I urge the Trump Administration to reverse course and put the well-being of our coastal communities above oil industry profits."'

Ooh. Good luck with that.

But, hey, at least those words of warning are forever emblazoned on the internet so at least he'll be able to say he told ya so. Got that goin', which is nice.

Everyone should listen, though; even people so far to the right that they think turn signals are for communists.

After all, though there wasn't fucking tar washing up on Treasure Island as the gusher gushed on, there was the perception that it was, among people from Ohio or wherever who were booking their summer vacations. Some even thought oil was washing up in Orlando of all places because apparently consulting a map when planning a vacation is too much work for Northerners. (Also, oil did eventually wash up on T.I.'s Sunset Beach.)

Noxious substances floating around in the gulf (oil and dispersants, mostly) also crippled the fishing industry for months.

So, yeah, just as our economy was recovering from the Great Recession — of which Tampa Bay was in some ways the epicenter — along came Deepwater Horizon, which caused a dip in tourism and fishing, which are both kinda important to the state's economy.

Tania Galloni, managing attorney for the Florida leg of Earthjustice, offered a one-word descriptor that pretty much encapsulates all of this in the second word of her statement on Trump's drilling push.

“It’s absurd that any leader would consider allowing drilling rigs near our shores after what happened with the BP Gulf oil spill,” said. “The protections on these oil operations have not been adequately strengthened to prevent another disaster. Opening up the Gulf and Atlantic to offshore drilling near Florida is just playing roulette with our coastal environment and our economy. It’s not worth it, and the public opposes it.”

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