April 18, 2011

BP Oil Disaster - One Year Later

The NY Times reports that a year has passed since BP's Macondo well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers and launching the nation's worst oil spill -- and an all-encompassing environmental drama that played out for months as the oil industry and federal government struggled to contain the gusher.


A year after the blowout, members of Congress have made little progress toward addressing the issues raised by the disaster.
The reasons for their lassitude are numerous.
Chief among them is the highly partisan environment on Capitol Hill, where a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate struggles to find common ground with the overwhelmingly Republican House.
"We haven't responded because of the general polarization that has affected us in the last few months," said Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).
Still, the lack of progress on a congressional spill response is not sitting well with many in the environmental community.
"I don't think anybody in Congress has a legitimate excuse for the fact that they've done nothing to respond to the worst environmental disaster this nation has ever seen," said Regan Nelson, senior oceans advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Nor has it quelled the concerns of some of the staunchest environmental Democrats on Capitol Hill.
"We should have moved last year. We need a response," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


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