Jim Meffert: Gulf spill in part a consequence of America’s backwards energy strategy

By way of introduction to QM of Jim Meffert, candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s Third District, a press release just out from his office regarding the Gulf oil spill:

Edina, MN – Jim Meffert, DFL candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s Third District, released the following statement today as BP executives prepare to initiate the “top kill” procedure that officials hope will stop the massive Gulf floor oil leak that has lasted for 34 days and counting.

Meffert said, “As the oil spill caused by BP in the Gulf of Mexico reaches American shores, people are realizing that this disaster is much larger than BP has let on. BP must be held accountable for the tragedy they caused, the misinformation they have given the government and the public, the botched cleanup effort, the continued use of a toxic chemical dispersant, and all of the residual environmental damage this leak will certainly cause. Congress needs to keep the pressure on BP until cleanup is complete and future damage is mitigated as much as possible.

“But beyond this, BP’s irresponsible handling of this incident highlights three broader concerns that must be addressed: the enormous environmental and economic risks involved in domestic offshore drilling, the need for stronger federal environmental protections to hold the oil industry accountable, and the need to move America toward an energy policy that is truly based on renewable energy sources.

“It is tough to imagine a more urgent wake-up call for America on why we need to get serious about transitioning to renewable energy sources right now. Unfortunately too many officials continue to support a more or less status quo energy strategy that will keep us dependent on fossil fuels for decades. Congressman Erik Paulsen, for example, has advocated strongly for offshore drilling and said the environmental risks are low, though recent events have clearly shown otherwise.

“It is also ironic that many of the elected leaders who have been most vocal about cutting all government to the bare minimum are now, in the wake of this disaster, complaining that the government isn’t doing enough to help. As I have been saying all along, we need to stop asking whether government is too big or too small and start asking whether it is getting the job done. In this case, more could be done to help the Gulf Coast recover, and much more can be done to move America toward a clean energy future.”

“We need to start viewing government as a tool and not as an enemy. We also need to create an energy policy that will produce safe and reliable power over the long term without risking the enormous devastation that we have seen this month in the Gulf. This will mean investing in new technologies including wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels that will not only be safer and more sustainable, but also create the kind of good jobs we need in Minnesota and around the country. We need energy innovation now more than ever, and that is what I will be fighting for in Congress.”

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