June 10th, 2010
10:19 AM ET
4 years ago

Never let a good oil spill go to waste

Many say lawmakers are missing an opportunity to reform the energy sector, in light of the recent Gulf oil spill.
Many say lawmakers are missing an opportunity to reform the energy sector, in light of the recent Gulf oil spill.

New York (CNNMoney.com) - Never let a good crisis go to waste. That's paraphrasing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's supposed argument for sweeping reforms to the American economy amid the meltdown.

Now many say lawmakers are doing just that with the oil spill: failing to enact sweeping energy reform to wean the nation off fossil fuels while the public is fixated on events in the Gulf.

"This incident is a punctuation point," said Joseph Stanislaw, an independent energy adviser at Deloitte & Touche. "We've never had an energy policy, and we've been squandering opportunities for decades."

The energy policy favored by Stanislaw, many Democrats in Congress, and most renewable energy advocates involves making fossil fuels more expensive either by adding some type of tax or putting a price on carbon emissions. It also involves requirements that utilities buy more clean energy, as well as lots of money for energy conservation.

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Filed under: Energy • Obama administration
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have a good energy policy here: delevlop and construct more fission power plants; design new plants that can use radioactive waste from older reactors. Encourage solar development and production of new kinds of panels and put them everywhere it doesn't interfer with the architecture (like on the capitol building dome. Fusion power needs to be researched as well. That is the first part.

    June 10, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. educated american (legal)

    how about removing all subsidies on all forms of energy and allowing the people of america to decide for themselves which is best?

    oh wait- bill maher said we were too stupid to decide for ourselves- the Progressive and Neocon mantra.

    yes- given the facts and weighing the options is what free people do to make decisions that are best for themselves and thier families.

    who is the CCX? who is calling for the Cap and Trade energy policies? WHo looks to make money off of this?
    CRIME INC.

    June 10, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Idiots

    All of these goofs should keep their opinions to themselves. Just what the American people need is higher energy rates due to our government wanting to play cowboy and impose taxes to force people to pay more for energy. They can't even run their own programs efficiently without corruption and waste. The cap and trade issue is a very stupid idea which will have far reaching effects on what you pay for every product you buy. If they pass it, get ready to be shafted again.

    June 10, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Making anything more expensive right now would be political suicide, and every member of Congress knows it.

    No matter how much money the government wastes on "energy conservation," the oil will run out someday. The only sensible thing to do is apply that money to research, looking for some other source of energy.

    Militant "conservation" is basically surrender. It's saying that there's no real solution to the problem and that people just need to hunker down and be prepared to make endless sacrifices–or be forced to make sacrifices if they won't cooperate voluntarily. This kind of fatalistic, unimaginative, thinking seems to be more typical of Democrats than Republicans, but I couldn't even make a good guess as to why that is.

    June 10, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Bill from GA

    Works both ways.

    Our Pres should have declared a national emergency about the third day. Put one team on getting the leak stopped and another on clean-up. Spare no cost. Get a third group collecting invoices and getting immediate payment.

    There is too much not being done. Get on it, Barry. It's your mess now.

    June 10, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Angus McDugan

    I don't want to hear any more liberals / progressives / democrats accuse anyone of fear mongering. Obama did it with the economy and with his oil spill.

    Hope and change. Obama is HOPING his oil spill will CHANGE for the best on its own.

    Mr. Obama, Get out there and lead. Gesh! Do I have to think of everything for you. Put that big Harvard degree to work for once.

    June 10, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. check their donations

    good time to see where their money for re-election is coming from

    who is adding the extra rooms on their vacation houses

    who gave them those box seats to the big game

    how did their kid's get into that ivy league school

    I think I see the Utah Olympics situation happening here with Congress

    June 10, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. hollywood ricky

    now is a good time to expose the republicans for what they really are. it was they , the ones who were in power and asleep at the switch during the cheney /bush yrs. now its blame obama once again. how about the secert energy meetings where cheney and the oil comp. and the right wing supreme court said the sky is the limit then we're going to give you a tax break.

    June 10, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Grahame Rhodes

    Obviously we can't go on like this. One good earthquake anywhere off the Eastern seaboard or another deep rupture on the seabed and we are going to kill the entire food chain. If that happens then we are going to have to acquire a taste for grass clippings off the lawn. So we need to get the oil companies out of Washington. This was all started by the Bush family anyway who used big oil to get their way with the American people
    Here in Canada we are just starting to wake up to the fact that the Alberta tar sands are toxic. Best of luck people

    June 10, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. vic of New Yotk

    You can blame that on Republicans and their chalatan supporters.

    June 10, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. thor

    This idea of carbon credits is plain stupid.It's a scheme dreamed up by Al Gore to make himself billions . Interesting that he formed a company to take advantage of this get rich scheme and has convinced the media that this is the only thing that's going to save our country.The reason the president isn't doing anything in the Gulf is he wants as much environmental damage as possible in order to get the public to go along with his green energy agenda and to prod Congress to pass Cap and Trade legislation.

    June 10, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. Chris~Albany, NY

    There's only so much oil, but the wind and the sun will never stop..at least not in any of our liftimes.

    June 10, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. GI Joe

    People just keep demanding and driving 6 and 8 cylinder gas-hogs. The only people that NEED that power drive farm or industrial trucks.

    STOP selling the high-powered vehicles. My 4-cylinder camry hybrid will go fast enough to get ticketed, if I choose. It's all ego on the highways sometimes.

    June 10, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Bob in PA

    I think the administrations inaction in containing or controlling the spill says it all. The worse that they allow it to become, the more leeway they will have to implement their draconian measures.

    June 10, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    "We've never had an energy policy, and we've been squandering opportunities for decades."
    So what has the Department of Energy been doing with all of those Trillions of tax dollars spent since Pres. Carter started that Government Agency?
    The Government makes the problem and then tells the American people only the Government can fix the problem with a little more tax dollar spending.

    June 10, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Dano

    It's a shame that it takes an environmental disaster of this magnitude to open America's eyes to the dangers of offshore drilling. Hopefully the pictures of dead and dying fish, turtles, and dolphins, oil covered birds, and pristine beaches covered with tar balls will force us to rethink the way we power our country. If we truly want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil we must develop alternative renewable energy sources so we can tell the oil shieks where to stick their oil.

    June 10, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Liz the First

    If this horrific incident doesn't wake people up to the need to wean ourselves off this poison, there isn't much hope for the survival of the human species. we are smart enough to come up with alternatives, the question is do we have the will. as long as there are ignorant peoople denying we have a huge problem, there will be those who use that as an excuse to not change our ways and make the changes vital to our continued existence.

    June 10, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    That old adage comes to mind:' When God (life) gives you lemons, make lemonade'.

    A whole scope of issues that were effectively ignored not only by the Shrub, but by previous administrations are going to be addressed, and corrected.

    This tailspin that we are on, in all fairness, is NOT just the making of the Shrub's administration, this COMEUPPANCE has been en route for a long time. The result of our greed, selfishness, arrogance towards other nations, deteriorating moral fiber.

    This crap is almost BIBLICAL in its' scope ain't it?!

    June 10, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Senator

    Cover the gulf with Flour and you'll have the spill cleaned up in no time

    June 10, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Steve in CT

    Another reason Brown from Mass. should instead of pushing for a new fighter jet engine we already have an engine for should fight to aid GREEN companys in his state like American Super Conductor who makes alternitive energy stuff to get employment levels up.

    June 10, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. Dave

    And this is exactly why I have said this thing doesn't add up. Do your homework and see that big banks, including Goldman Sachs, dumped BP stock before this "accident". Also, look into the Halliburton purchase of Boots & Coots, an oil well control company just before the "accident".

    June 10, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Anonymous

    They're right. It takes a disaster to get American to respond to change, especially Republicans. Under both Bushes, Clinton and others, no one wanted to mess with possible votes from the all important vote heavy south.Obama had so many other issues to deal with when he came in that this was a back-burner issue and now we have this.
    Maybe people will wake up to safety as a main criteria for production.
    The cost of doing something safely and correctly the first time is so much less than the aftermath,

    June 10, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. walleye

    This enviro-disaster is the reason we must get away from using fossil fuels. Don’t think it won’t happen again even if regulations are tightened, fines paid and people prosecuted. As long as we continue to use our oceans to transport or drill for oil, it WILL happen again but probably in a different way we can’t envision. We said no more Exxon Valdez disasters, so what happens – drilling rig fire. We need to expand the use of nuclear, wind, solar etc and depend less on oil/coal which is ruining our planet. I don’t see how Obama is to blame for this. The Govt. does not have the tools or knowledge to fix this problem. It’s in BP’s hands to fix and Govt. just needs to keep putting pressure on them to move faster with plugging the hole, then cleaning up and finally compensating those who have lost their livelihood.

    June 10, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Karl in Charleston,SC

    And what would that do to the economy?

    June 10, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Slick William

    Yes, the only problem with using a crisis to make policy is that the idiots making the policy will look no further than the sticky oil washing up on the beaches. They will make sure their special interest investors are all guaranteed a great return while once again mainstreet taxpayers foot the bill. Just look at what they did for us with healthcare reform.....

    Enough said, hmmmmm whose ass does America want to kick?

    June 10, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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