The Gusher in the Gulf - New Media and Politics


The New York Times is reporting this morning that the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency charged with protecting endangered species, signed off on the Mineral Management Service's conclusion that deep water drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico posed no serious threat to wildlife. The agency signed off on the minerals service’s biological evaluation, even though that assessment considered only the risks to wildlife based on spills of 1,000 to 15,000 barrels — a minuscule amount compared with the hundreds of thousands of barrels now spewing into the gulf.



The explanation from Deborah Fuller, the endangered species program coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s office in Lafayette, La., that “We all know an oil spill is catastrophic, but what is the likelihood it will happen?” defies reason, like most news related to the disaster. She said her office had considered that any likelihood under 50 percent would not be enough to require the protections of her office. I find myself dumbfounded as I read those words - anything less than a 50-50 chance was okay? That's an absurd and obviously dangerous amount of leeway for a region whose eco-systems are as fragile as those of the Gulf region are.

 Keep in mind that American taxpayers are paying for the spill's costs by giving tax breaks and direct payouts to BP and Haliburton and the oil industry in the US is receiving all sorts of subsidies, while at the same time raking in billions and soiling beaches.