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The Lazarus Effect

Posted by: Andrew Langer on Friday, June 25, 2010 at 9:38:58 am

The President’s Oil Spill Commission: The Lazarus Effect

 Earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced the appointment of Richard Lazarus, to serve as executive director of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.   Lazarus, a notorious environmental lawyer, is a curious choice considering the technical nature of the task at hand.

Energy experts have raised eyebrows at the pick, suggesting that perhaps someone with a technical background, a career in the energy industry, or better yet, any experience at all with offshore drilling, would have been a more suitable pick. 

I wasn’t so surprised at this dubious choice.  The Administration is clearly pushing industry experts, best practices, and knowledge aside in the pursuit of a predetermined political outcome - namely, closing access to America's offshore energy resources. 

Using this crisis as a pretext for shutting down drilling is grossly irresponsible and detrimental to solving the problem at hand.  Now more than ever it's important that our government tap the most informed available experts – the brightest engineers we have to offer – to identify the most promising technologies for coping with this ongoing crisis and to begin developing the guiding principles that will reduce the likelihood of this type of incident from occurring in the future.

While we usually need a trial, a jury, and a guilty verdict before a death sentence is pronounced, here we're through the looking glass:  we have no need of trials, juries, or executioners.  The verdict is predetermined, regardless of the overwhelming expert opinion that demonstrates that something much different ought to be done.    Almost from the start of this crisis, the President's unfocused, bureaucratic and obstructionist response has caused this disaster to get infinitely worse.  Whether it's payoffs to his political cronies or slavish devotion to this anti-energy ideology, the outcome is still the same:  the American people, especially those on the Gulf Coast, lose and lose big."


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