Month 8, Day 5: Many Happy Returns!

Bill McKibben wrote this absolutely kick-ass piece, which went up in a bunch of places. I was inspired. Then I read Bob Cesca’s piece at Huffington Post and was further inspired. So I combined the two in a long letter to POTUS, who hasn’t heard from me for at least a week.

Dear President Obama,

The oil flowing from the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster has finally been stopped, and for that we are all deeply grateful. But there is another spill which has not been capped — and if this one doesn’t get dealt with, all of us will be the losers.

I’m talking about the uncontrolled gusher of misrepresentations, evasions and equivocations that come from the mouths of BP spokesmen, from the PR outlets of Big Oil, from the offices of Senators and Representatives who have been taken over by petroleum interests…and, alas, from your own administration.

It is surely tempting to sugar-coat unpleasant facts; time and again we have learned that the political process is unkind to those who speak the truth bluntly and accurately. But there is a time for the actual truth, and now is that time.

The truth is — that BP spilled almost five million barrels of oil. If they’ve cleaned up three-quarters of it, that leaves about fifty-three million gallons, which is five times the size of the Exxon Valdez.

The truth is — that BP lied from the beginning about how much was flowing; far from cooperating in the cleanup process, they have done as much as they could to hide the details, restrict the flow of information, and make it impossible for accurate measurements to be taken.

The truth is — that the toxic dispersants they’ve used haven’t evaporated; they’ve dissolved into the seawater along with the oil. That doesn’t make the oil go away; it just hides it, and leaves the waters of the Gulf of Mexico a toxic chemical stew that will destroy ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.

The truth is — that BP was criminally careless in their handling of the Deepwater Horizon platform, and criminally careless in their handling of the disaster.

The truth is — that carelessness and mendacity are part and parcel of the strategic toolkit of Big Oil, day in and day out.

The truth is — that nobody in the United States should take anything an oil company representative utters at face value. To paraphrase Mary McCarthy, “Every word is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ “

The truth is — that global climate change is a slow-motion disaster unfolding before our horrified eyes, and it has been made possible by the malfeasance of our energy sector.

The truth is — that Americans need to hear the truth, and they need to hear it from their elected representatives.

And the truth is, Mr. President — that means you.

We can’t afford happy talk right now. We need to know how bad it’s gotten if we’re going to find ways to stop it from getting worse.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

PS — Happy Birthday!

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