Bob Cavnar’s Absolutely Right: Drill here? LIVE here!!

Dear readers, if you watch much television concerning the wild well in the Gulf floor, you’ve probably at least heard of Bob Cavnar.

Robert Cavnar


He’s not (at least I don’t think he is) Fishgrease of DKos and Booming School fame, but … Bob Cavnar, of The Daily Hurricane, is dead solid perfect in this column: You drill in US waters? You LIVE in the US.

We can no longer afford to outsource our critical resources or precious lands to those who have no skin in our game. A key part of drilling regulation reform must have companies exploring on US property answering to US citizens for their actions.


5 responses to “Bob Cavnar’s Absolutely Right: Drill here? LIVE here!!

  1. grahamfirchlis

    Weeeel, ahhhhh, hmmmm. I’m not so sure that’s THE answer, maybe not even a good one, and IMHO probably not at all the right one at all.

    Offshore oil and gas as well as all fossil fuels on government-owned land are all held as assets of the nation and thus are communal property of the people. What we do is lease the right to extract these substances, for a royalty. The leases are let in a bidding process, through which presumably the best possible deal is struck in terms of profiting – for the American people – from the lease.

    Restricting the pool of bidders would only serve to lower the bid price, and thus the profits we receive. Is that, in and of itself, beneficial?

    Absent other changes, is it realistic to think that ExxonMobile or Chevron are any better actors in terms of safety? I believe they have been just as busy evading safe practices as has BP. As for financial accountability, the stockholders of Enron for instance would likely not agree that being wholly US-owned makes much difference if the resources aren’t there to pay for screwing up.

    What does make sense is bringing our requirements for all extractive process up to or better than the level required by other first-world nations. Instead of modernizing, BushCheney systematically degraded our regulatory practices to the point where this disaster could happen as well as the mining disasters we’ve witnessed. If instead we had tightened and improved the regulatory environment, then this blowout probably wouldn’t have happened and if it did the relief well would have already been in place and we could shut the leak off easily.

    I think the best approach in the short term is through improved regulation, not nationalist restrictions. It isn’t as though all US corporations are run by saints, nor is it true that they will always be able to cover the costs for the effect of their mistakes on others.

    In the longer term, I think the right approach is quite different. It is past time to shut down US oil extraction entirely. Extraction from domestic sources contributes less than 0.5% of our annual consumption so it isn’t as though we’d miss it, nor would it affect crude oil pricing.

    We have less than 2% of world petroleum reserves, and the last thing we should be doing is sucking that limited resource up to run cars with. We should view oil in the ground as a strategic reserve and a matter of our national security, and keep it in place for the not-to-distant day when easily recoverable oil diminishes sharply and what little is left becomes very precious indeed.

    We can shift our energy needs to other non-fossil sources, but once the oil is gone we will be hard-pressed to replace many crucial derivatives. If we are going to burn oil for foolishness like SUVs we should burn somebody else’s, and save our own.

  2. BlackSheep01

    I mostly agree with you, y’know. But on this issue I’m with Bob Cavnar, and Fishgrease from DKos.

    Offshore drilling, especially the deepwater variety, is too hazardous to leave alone.

    BP is egregious, indeed infamously so, in its disregard for regulations — it flips the bird to workers as readily as the environment in its pursuit of more money now.

    I’d like to see how differently BP’s rigs would be run if their CEO and COO and CFO had to *live* on the rigs while the drilling went forward. The 11 men who died aboard Deepwater Horizon might be the end of the casualties the corporation inflicts after all.

    You are correct to say that BushCheney gutted our regulatory functions. The aftermath of that, like the oil still spewing into the Gulf, is going to take a long time to stop poisoning us as a nation.

    But … in point of fact, oil on the world market isn’t sold as “US oil” or “Texas oil” or “Louisiana oil” or “offshore oil” — it’s sold as Oil. It’s refined into its products and then the additives that make what comes out of a Texas City refinery separate and distinct for sale at e.g. a Valero station as opposed to a Conoco station is a minuscule amount that’s poured into the tanker truck and mixed en route to the underground tanks at your local filling station.

    We would NOT be better off switching altogether to coal-fired electricity, btw. I think we need to build (and I’m on that bandwagon to do this as a CCC/WPA program putting Americans to work on American soil with American parts for American wages) infrastructure everywhere we have wind energy farms to take that to customers; I think we need solar on every house in the USA.

    But yeah, I keep thinking if, say, Tony Hayward had to sleep every night that platform runs in the Gulf on a bunk in the crew quarters, BP would be more careful.

    Which could make a difference, really. I think they really are different (and I don’t mean in a good way) from other operators in the Gulf, not least because they’re after more money now and damn the consequences.

  3. grahamfirchlis

    Wouldn’t be any fun if we were just a couple of old North-East Yankees sittin’around on the porch in our rockers going





    Progress comes from exercising diffrences, not cheerleading. I count on you to help me move forward.

    And no, coal is not an “answer” and neither is natural gas. Over hundreds of millions of years the Earth’s atmospheric carbon was slowly sequestered underground, reducing the planet’s surface temperature and creating the environment in which humans evolved and prospered. Now we’re taking that sequestered carbon and putting it back into the atmosphere at a furious rate, re-creating a world in which dinosaurs ruled and mammals were very small rodent-sorts of creatures of no significance. Setting aside scientific uncertainty and other philosophical controversy, that behavior seems pretty stupid to me.

  4. BlackSheep01

    And humanity’s genius for despoliation doesn’t seem both habitual and suicidal?

    no. We need not always agree. But on this we do:
    solar’s a better choice.
    wind’s a better choice.
    heck, even nuclear’s a better choice; all else fails we can send the spent fuel rods to … I dunno, Phobos or somewhere.

    • grahamfirchlis

      Habitual? Maybe genetically ingrained in all higher species, like telemeres for cells to keep them from being immortal.

      About those fuel rods; maybe we can drop them down spent oil wells.

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