Competitive Enterprise Institute | 1899 L ST NW Floor 12, Washington, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-331-1010 | Fax: 202-331-0640
This morning I submitted requests under the Freedom of Information Act to the U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking internal discussions about whether and how to burn off oil leaking in the Gulf, and environmentalist pressure and involvement in those decisions.
There has simply been too much smoke out there to ignore suggesting that the administration heeded green group shrieks to not burn the oil as soon and as much as they should have. There is also continuing evidence that EPA, for whatever reason, was myopically concerned with air pollution that would come from burning the oil out at sea to the exclusion or diminution of concern over the impact the same oil would have if it migrated.
It also seems clear, including from former NOAA experts, that had the practice been engaged in as aggressively and early as it apparently should have been (before the oil becomes well mixed) much of that which is reaching shore would not have.
The simple fact of the matter is that green groups' bottom lines benefit in years in which a high-profile ecological event occurs. The worse, the better. The environmental damage, while real, is temporary and if only for that reason it is not beyond the pale -- when combined with the fact that the greens and the administration quite clearly saw the spill early on as an opportunity to advance their "green economy" and otherwise the global warming agenda -- that the green groups and administration improperly impeded operations to burn the oil.
So, the public ought to see what was being said by whom and when about the prospect of this sort of intervention. More on this later.