Five years on: why Obama will always cherish the Gulf Oil Spill


Five years ago today the Guardian was celebrating one of the most glorious moments in left-wing history since the erection of the Berlin Wall. I refer, of course, to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – a tragedy which the Guardian and the rest of the left-liberal media milked so hard that had it been a cow it would almost certainly have had to be put down by a vet, quite likely causing the newspaper’s environment team to be imprisoned for gross animal cruelty and beaten with rubber truncheons by black-uniformed officers of the RSPCA.

Here’s just one example of the kind of enviro porn I mean. See how droolingly it quotes experts from the usual, parti-pris conservation bodies like Pew Environment Group, the National Audubon Society, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature about all the species that might lose their lives: “the brown pelican, state bird of Louisiana”, the American oystercatcher, Wilson’s plover, snowy plover, the Caspian tern, royal tern, laughing gull, black skimmer…

Tragically, this being the Gulf Coast, they weren’t quite able to co-opt sea otters into this particular spill. Luckily, though, they managed to find something possibly even cuter to do the job instead:

Carl-Gustaf Lundin, head of the marine programme at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) told the BBC: “If you’ve got seagrass beds badly contaminated, clearly the manatees could be seriously affected.” Less than 2,500 adult manatees remain in the area and are already at risk from climate change and disturbance by boat traffic.

Oh the manatee!

And so it went on, day after day. For the Guardian (and the BBC, and the New York Times and CBS News and CNN and all their ideological soulmates) the BP oil spill was as Princess Diana was to the Daily Mail, an endless source of the kind of stories absolutely guaranteed to get their readership big in their trousers and hot in their knickers: see the dying birdie caught in the oil slick; weep over the dying turtles; boo and hiss at the anti-science denialism (sound familiar?) of BP chief executive Tony Hayward as he tries to downplay the environmental impact of the disaster; and so on – 190 articles in all.

But right from the beginning at least some of us smelt a rat.

I wrote several pieces about it at my old home, Telegraph blogs.

In “There’s nothing greens love more than a nice juicy oil spill” I noted, for example, that far worse spills had happened in the Second World War, none resulting in any long term damage:

The Obama administration qualifies the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as the worst environmental disaster in history. In this they show a short memory and a dim grasp of arithmetic. In World II five million tons of petroleum were cast into the Atlantic (about 32 million barrels of oil) from tanker ships sunk by Nazi submarines, in a period from 1942 to 1945, and with heavy concentration in the fateful year of 1942. Averaged over 1000 days the loss is equivalent to two to five times the oil now spilled into the Gulf of Mexico – every day – for the duration of the war.

In BP Oil Spill: Mass Hysteria On A Par With The Dutch Tulip Bubble I quoted a fairly typical greenie reaction I’d got from one of my American commenters:

Maybe the spill should come over and affect the British coastline. Maybe tankers with an equivalent amount of oil should come dump them on British shores. What will it take for you to understand the magnitude of this tragedy? When will you see what has been done? Only when you are personally impacted, will we hear a peep from you, I am afraid. Cannot get outside of yourself for one moment to understand someone else’s situation. Must always think of yourself first.

Well, that’s back to my original point and how we all got here. From the prattle in this blog, I am sure you will not consider that. Why change, when you can go on living your self-destructive life. Who cares about others or future generations? No. Just think about yourselves, all these problems will just magically fix themselves. Right?

And in So I was right about the BP Oil Spill I modestly noted how right I had been all along: the environmental damage, even then, was turning out to be not nearly so bad as the greenies had predicted.

Now I’m about to do so again. Here’s a fifth anniversary piece by Stephen Moore which confirms everything I said at the time: no the brown pelicans haven’t been wiped out; yes the fisheries have quickly recovered; no the tourist trade did not suffer anything close to the damage promised by the catastrophists (like the managing director of Oxford Economics USA who had predicted a $22.7 billion loss over the three years).

But I’m not saying this to crow about what an amazing Nostradamus I am. Anyone familiar with the green nexus’s modus operandi could have written exactly what I did because these people’s methods are always the same, especially where their favourite thing of all – oil disasters – are concerned.

Greenies and lefties (and frankly there’s little difference: see Watermelons) love oil disasters because they are the perfect way of dressing up their bitter, chippy, divisive war on capitalism as simple, honest, decent concern about the environment.

This is why Obama, too, seized on the Gulf Oil Spill with such indecent enthusiasm. It’s not often that a US president – even one as flagrantly left wing as this one – gets the chance to play to the anti-capitalist gallery by hammering an oil multinational like BP. (And take revenge on the British for Mau Mau: remember how he kept referring to it as “British Petroleum” – a name it no longer uses?) But Obama was able to do so because he could play the green card.

BP has already forked out $27 billion in penalties, payments to aggrieved parties and clean up costs in one of the largest payouts for an accident in American history.

As Stephen Moore goes on to note:

This is enough money to hand every man, woman, boy, and girl in Chicago or Houston a $10,000 check. In addition, as the result of a court ruling last fall finding BP acted with willful misconduct and gross negligence leading up to the spill, BP could have to pay another $13.7 billion in Clean Water Act penalties.

Or, as I would prefer to put it, the BP Oil Spill enabled the most aggressively left-wing president in recent memory to carry out an act of daylight robbery against a multinational company and its shareholders – including the many pensioners, especially in the UK, who depend on it at least in part for their retirement income.

Obama got away with it because he knows that whenever you make environmentalism your excuse, most of the compliant and ignorant media will give you a free pass to do what the hell you want.

Why do you think he and his fellow leftists and world government freaks are working so hard to get their way at this December’s UN climate summit in Paris?

It’s because, as I’ve argued many times before and as I can’t point out often enough, green is the new red.




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