Privatize the Ocean?

With the devastating spill of oil in the Gulf, this post from The National Review suggests taking control over off-shore drilling out of the hands of government and putting it into the hands of private interests.

Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute says private interests would be able to do more to protect the oceans from similar spills -- and even do better at preventing them.

"We need to move away from the crony corporatism that has characterized much of the nation's energy sector during the last century or so. It would be foolish to promise that market-based reforms would prevent another disaster, but they would be more effective than yet more meaningless bureaucracy. There are several reasons for this.

First, the existing government regulations have been counterproductive. They pushed energy companies offshore - miles and miles offshore. America is a resource-rich country, and unlike other resource-rich countries, we have locked up most of our resources so we can't use them. While the Gulf of Mexico holds about 44 billion barrels of oil in undiscovered reserves, according to Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates, the continental U.S. has slightly more onshore. The difference is that we are allowed to explore and extract the offshore reserves, while it is extremely difficult to get permission to do the same on land. As a result, most exploration takes place offshore, where the consequences of a spill are so much greater."

Thanks to Grist

Full Story: Tapping the Well of Freedom



Privatizing moving targets.

I guess they have to keep pushing their small-minority worldview, regardless of reality on the ground. Lather, rinse, repeat.



Isn't that what we already have done

Since the Reagan Administration agencies like the MMS has had their power and authority reduced to the point they are ineffective. The culture in the MMS is created by the same people who run the oil industry. This has basically made the ocean privatize. BP has shown the private sector doesn't care about ensuring that their operations don't harm the environment. While they invested billions in developing rigs to drill deep and farther into the ocean, they couldn't spare a dime on spill clean up. When they could have spent money on the clean up, they spent it on ad campaigns.

We are in an age of "extreme energy," exploring more difficult terrains for oil and coal. Energy companies are exploring more dangerous terrains not because the big bad government is preventing them. They have to go to these extreme locations in order to meet the energy demands of the American people. Until we start reducing our energy consumption we're going to have to deal with "extreme energy". This is not the government's fault. It is the American people's fault.

How Disingenuous Can The Naitonal Review Get?

Leave it to The National Review to turn logic on its head with this asinine suggestion.

Once again the radical right goes off the deep end. The BP debacle confirms that, left to police itself, the private sector will engage in risky, dangerous behavior just to maximize its profits. And given the manner in which previous administrations gutted the Minerals Management Service to make it the oil industry's toy, The National Review achieves a new low in ignoring the facts in favor of its radical right wing agenda.

It's the private sector that has caused nearly every problem in America. And it's the political influence of the private sector that has kept all levels of government from addressing the root causes of these problems. We get band-aides, not solutions.

Federal agencies have been victims of deliberate sabotage during both Bush administrations as well as the Reagan administration (actually Clinton didn't do much better). President Obama inherited the mess his predecessors produced and has achieved major reforms in those departments with which I am very familiar, particularly the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD is actually starting to comply with the law and its own regulations for the first time in distant memory -- the Westchester County settlement under the False Claims Act is testament to the efforts of the Obama administration to follow the law.

Daniel Lauber, AICP
AICP President 2003-2005, 1992-1994
APA President 1985-1986

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