Month 8, Day 26: Institutional Irresponsibility and the Culture of Malign Neglect

The Washington Post ran an article on the corruption in the Minerals Management Service — their willingness to let industry insiders write the regulations they were supposed to enforce. It’s infuriating.

The readiness of the Minerals Management Service to take dictation from corporate interests when it comes time to draft regulatory language is tragic but unsurprising. Republican appointees like James Watt are virtually without exception industry insiders who can expect to profit handsomely from their willingness to sacrifice the genuine environmental wealth of this country — wealth which by rights belongs to all of us. This affects every aspect of our government and our politics. Perhaps the most damaging manifestation of this systemic dysfunction is the inability of the U.S. Senate to pass meaningful legislation addressing climate change. By compromising, delaying and procrastinating, our politicians have enabled the continuing destruction of humanity’s common environmental inheritance in order to preserve the profits of some of the world’s largest corporations. The Senate is the Minerals Management Service writ large, and we are all of us the losers thereby.

Warren Senders

Month 5, Day 28: Looking The Other Way

FishOutOfWater has his usual mind-bendingly scary diary at Dkos. That motivated me to sit down, but what came out was a response to a New York Times article from a couple of days ago. It’s more in my “Oil and Coal Reward Evil, Stupidity and Irresponsibility” series. I will write something on the Arctic, perhaps tomorrow.

We learn once again that there were warning signs of the impending disaster on the Deepwater Horizon, but that they were ignored. This should surprise no one; the oil and coal industries have had a lot of experience ignoring the signs of impending disasters. The siren call of quick profit drowns out the voices of caution, care and conscience, leaving our nation’s energy economy under the control of forces motivated entirely by profit, unhindered by any sense of responsibility to the greater good. British Petroleum’s behavior has been shameful, yes — but the entire fossil energy sector has a history of rewarding shameful, callous and irresponsible behavior. If ecocidal oil spills, coal mine explosions, and terrifying increases in world temperature levels can’t persuade us to kick our fossil fuel addiction, then we too are ignoring the signs of a planetary emergency that will make the Gulf spill seem small.

Warren Senders