We Need a “Timeout


Making the short argument for President Obama’s moratorium ought to be as easy as turning on video of the gusher, but it’s not. That became clear when a federal judge, overturned the presidential order. That will be appealed, of course, and there’s every reason to expect it will stand.

The longer argument for what the New York Times calls a “timeout” is made well in that paper’s editorial pages at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/opinion/26sat1.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1277550157-hg4CpDyJXiYN0Od+KEAfog.

One part of that argument, that there “… were plenty of reasons to worry even before the spill” is particularly strong. To that, we would add that the actual spill is not some random act; it came about because of many actions and inactions over years. Actually, as more and more information surfaces about the company and its regulators, you get the feeling that this disaster is not only “not random” but was indeed inevitable.

But few of us realized the extent of that danger on April 19, before the rig exploded. And there’s no way to know what other dangers are hidden from us today. It could be that the six months is long enough to fix that problem, or maybe even more time is needed. Either way, the stakes are clearly too high to take anyone’s word for safety anymore. Been there, done that, and it has likely screwed up the Gulf of Mexico for my lifetime at least.

© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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