Saturday, June 05, 2010

Where's Jeff?

Our own Northwest Florida congressman, Jeff ("Mr. Oil Spill") Miller (R-Chumuckla) has been almost invisible the past several weeks. We thought maybe we'd missed his resignation letter, or possibly Massachusetts had agreed to that great trade Rick Outzen proposed.

No such luck. Today's PNJ paraphrases him as saying, weirdly, "the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf means oil company BP could always be doing more to combat it."

His exact words make even less sense:
"With the amount of petroleum product that's in the Gulf, there's always something that BP can do," Miller said. "I hope that everybody continues to force BP as the responsible party to do the right thing."
Wait a minute. Miller wants "everybody... to force BP?" Hey, wasn't that what he promised to do? Remember this headline, from one month ago, May 8, 2010? Take a look:

Where's that billion dollars, Jeff?

The man is pathetic. Congressman Jeff Miller just doesn't get it. It's no wonder he's been hiding lately.

For years, Mr. Oil Spill has been a loud and frequent "drill, baby, drill" cheerleader for putting more and more oil rigs off the Florida coast. He never met an offshore drilling permit he didn't like.

To cite just one example, four years ago Miller voted in favor of H.R. 4761, which would have would have opened up all of Florida's coasts to drilling rigs. As MJ reporter Josh Harkinson writes, the bill included "comically pollyannaish" text that claimed:
[I]t is not reasonably foreseeable that . . . development and production of an oil discovery located more than 50 miles seaward of the coastline will adversely affect resources near the coastline... .
Back home, Miller also never missed an opportunity to tell us what fantastic technological advances the drillers had developed to extract oil since the bad old days of the Exxon Valdez. Fact is, he didn't know what he was talking about. Period.

Despite the language of Bobby Jindal's 2006 bill quoted above (yes, that Bobby Jindal), in fact the oil industry did nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to advance public safety, reduce the risks of a catastrophic well blow-out, or develop effective remediation efforts for undersea drilling. As former EPA administrator and oil executive William Reilly said on the Rachel Maddow show the other night, the remediation and "response technology is about as primitive as it was in the Exxon Valdez case."

So now "Mr. Oil Spill" thinks "there's... something BP can do?" Oh, that's helpful.

The time for BP to "do" something, Mr. Oil Spill, was long before BP's oil well exploded and Northwest Florida's beaches were threatened with ruin. That's when you and your "drill, baby, drill" should have been demanding BP 'do something' about developing new public safety techniques and remediation technologies.

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