Hillary Clinton Approved Oil Drilling in Sensitive Coastal Waters
Most news outlets treat the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 as some kind of competition between rival personalities, with each prospective candidate demonstrating how well liked they are by different constituencies. Rarely do they explore the important differences in the policies that the different Democratic candidates stand for, and how the candidates’ political agendas compare.
One very important policy difference between the Democratic candidates for President of the United States was highlighted today, as the House of Representatives pulled S. 3711 from consideration when it became clear that the bill could not get the approval of a sufficient number of representatives. That’s a good thing, because S. 3711, also known by the War On Terror Era name of The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, promoted a very foolish idea: Allowing more drilling for crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
One phrase ought to make it clear why oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is a foolish idea: Hurricane Katrina. The Gulf of Mexico is right in the middle of hurricane territory, making oil drilling there a very risky proposition. When Hurricane Katrina hit, for example, seven major oil spills took place, releasing more than 6.5 million gallons of crude oil and sending all that oil washing onto the ecologically sensitive shores of the Gulf of Mexico. More than 400 other smaller oil spills also took place as a result of Hurricane Katrina, releasing what has been estimated in total to be more oil than was spilled by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez in 1989.
The vulnerability of oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico was made apparent to all Americans, as 91.45 percent Gulf of Mexico oil production was shut down by the storm and took quite a long time to recover. As a result, the price of gasoline shot up to record levels nationwide.
It’s ironic that Senator Peter Domenici decided to call this an energy security bill, because if we allow more oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, we will make ourselves less secure, not more secure. Our energy supply and our economy alike will become more vulnerable to hurricane damage. Our environment will become less secure as well, subjected to more and more immense spills of crude oil along our Gulf shores. We know for certain that more hurricanes will come to batter the Gulf of Mexico oil infrastructure. The only question is how soon the next big storm will come. These are not odds that America should be gambling with.
Back in August, the United States Senate voted to approve S. 3711. In spite of the clear folly of increasing American dependence upon vulnerable oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Hillary Clinton voted with the Senate Republicans in favor of S. 3711.
The other Democratic Senators who are expected to run for President in 2008 did not vote for S. 3711.
This vote is just one example of why it is important to examine the policy differences between the Democratic presidential candidates of 2008. Hillary Clinton voted to make our economy, our energy infrastructure and our environment less secure. The other Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate did not.
Progressives need to know the difference. That’s why we’re creating our list of 2008 reasons to vote for a progressive President in 2008. We believe that America’s choice of President should be based upon substance, not just style.
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