Trump gives thumbs-up to massive offshore drilling plan

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Will this battle never come to an end?

The Trump administration on Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off California for the first time in more than three decades. The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Georgia to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. Many lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, though the Democratic governors of North Carolina and Virginia oppose drilling off their coasts.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, also opposes offshore drilling near his state, as do the three Democratic governors on the West Coast. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the plan Thursday, saying that responsible development of offshore energy resources would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines.

Bolding mine, because that's some serious BS. The Gulf of Mexico has been literally peppered with offshore rigs for decades, but when the Deepwater Horizon disaster happened, there wasn't enough money available to buy a pack of Nabs for those affected, much less "conserve" the oil-drenched coastline and fishing areas. The only bright spot in this oily mess is the fact we have a new Governor. Pat McCrory was nothing more than an industry shill, actually allowing them to operate out of his office under the guise of the Outer Continental Shelf Governor's Coalition. But our new Governor Roy Cooper is a totally different animal:

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says he'll keep fighting efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to expand oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast, saying such drilling "represents a critical threat" to the state's coastal economy.

Cooper responded Thursday to news of additional opportunities proposed by the federal government for offshore energy development starting in 2019. He said in a release his administration "will pursue every option" to prevent drilling near the state's beaches, fishing waters and coastal communities.

The governor last summer announced opposition to expanded coastal oil and gas exploration. Last month, a state regulatory agency asked companies interested in testing to provide more information that reflects potential marine life problems.

I can't imagine what the folks on NC's coast are thinking right now. They came together in a big way to oppose offshore drilling just a few years ago, and thanks to an assist by the Obama Administration, it appeared the threat was no longer imminent. But with Trump at the reigns, it's a damn free-for-all for polluting industries. Time to get out the sign-making materials and do it all again.

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And R's are dropping the clean-up fund tax

As per the Washington Post:

Congressional Republicans allowed a tax on oil companies that generated hundreds of millions of dollars annually for federal oil-spill response efforts to expire this week — a move that amounts to another corporate break in the wake of lawmakers’ sweeping tax overhaul late last month.

The tax on companies selling oil in the United States generated an average of $500 million in federal revenue per year, according to the Government Accountability Office. The money, collected through a 9 cents-per-barrel tax on domestic crude oil and imported crude oil and petroleum products, constituted the main source of revenue for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Environmentalists called the tax lapse another industry victory under President Trump at the expense of people and wildlife located near sites susceptible to spills.

“We see it as illustrative of the way in which Trump and the GOP continue to push giveaways for corporate polluters at any cost,” said Lukas Ross, a climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “They had a tax bill that disproportionately benefited the fossil fuel industry, and then they allowed a $500 million-a-year tax on that same industry to expire.”

What a frickin' mess...

Never coming to an end

I don't find Game of Thrones has dialogue that is often of the caliber to be quotable. But this one part seems relevant to the political struggles we face.

Jon Snow: "So what are you fighting for?"
Beric Dondarrion: "Life. Death is the enemy. The first enemy, and the last."
Jon Snow: "But we all die."
Beric Dondarrion: "The enemy always wins. And we still need to fight him. That's all I know. You and I won't find much joy while we're here, but we can keep others alive. We can defend those who can't defend themselves."

That is so true

We've been pretty lucky when it comes to fracking, but that's (mostly) because we really don't have a lot of gas locked into our shale deposits. But we've got both oil and gas off our coast, and they're just itching to start drilling out there.

We have to fight, because not fighting just isn't an option. If a major spill occurred, there's a good chance a lot of that mess would work its way into the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and the impact would be devastating. Fish hatcheries, bird nesting areas, other wildlife habitats, would all be at risk. And of course the economy of coastal towns and cities would collapse. Just. Not. Worth. It.