Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Enamored with wind, Obama ignored drilling risks

Under Obama, the Minerals Management Service, driven by a strongly ideological commitment to green energy sources such as wind and solar power, chose to stress "renewables" while de-emphasizing the tough and dirty work of managing the nation's existing offshore oil wells. "What they did essentially was divert the attention of the agency away from regulating offshore drilling and focus it on the expansion of offshore renewables," says one well-informed Republican House aide. It started early in the new administration. Salazar's first departmentwide order, issued March 11, 2009, was to declare "facilitating the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the Department." Salazar chose Elizabeth Birnbaum to head the MMS in large part because of her record of environmental and green-energy advocacy. Shortly after Birnbaum was fired, her defenders told the trade publication Environment and Energy Daily that "she had not been ordered to clean house at the scandal-stained agency, but to promote renewable energy."...more

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