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A Message to the President

Frances Beinecke

Posted May 18, 2010

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According to the New York Times, President Barack Obama is expected to establish an independent commission to investigate the oil drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

This commission, which he will create by executive order, will mirror past panels that former presidents created to investigate other catastrophes including the space shuttle Challenger disaster and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.  It is also one of the key recommendations I offered to the President in a letter sent on May 4th.

This commission will be a critical step in providing a thorough and unbiased assessment of what happened and how such disasters can be averted in the future. We don’t know the details yet of who will be on this panel or what their exact orders will be, but here are key items I hope they will be charged with:

  • Examine the causes of the current spill as well as the adequacy of oil spill containment and clean-up measures. 
  • Determine whether and how such spills can be avoided in the future
  • Assess the implications of its findings for drilling in, or adjacent to sensitive or ecologically important areas, including in the Arctic.
  • Make recommendations on how to strengthen laws, regulations and reform agency oversight in order to keep this from happening again.

Beyond forming this commission, there are additional steps we’d like to see the President take.  We also need him to maintain a moratorium on new offshore drilling activity until the independent commission has completed its work and its recommendations have been implemented.

For a complete sense of what needs to be done, please see my message to the President below, filmed in large part during my trip last week to the Gulf.



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Steven Earl SalmonyMay 18 2010 01:14 PM

These times are especially difficult because silence is vanquishing science. Extant science of human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth is everywhere eschewed. People who speak out in public discourse about these topics are ridiculed and isolated. Being rejected by willfully colluding deniers of what could somehow be real would not be a such a problem if the human-induced global challenges already visible in the offing were not so formidable and so likely to threaten human wellbeing and environmental health in the fairly near future.

Whatsoever the odds, and no matter how daunting are the human-driven challenges which loom ominously before the family of humanity on the far horizon, each one of us has undeniable responsibilities to assume and solemn duties to perform as best we can with the steadfast hope of making the world we inhabit a better place for the children to live in. To do otherwise, much less choose to do nothing but more of the same old unsustainable things we are so selfishly, arrogantly and wrong-headedly doing now, is anathema to me.

Perhaps necessary changes toward sustainable lifestyles and eco-friendly business enterprises are nearly at hand.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001

Mini RichardsMay 21 2010 02:24 AM

Please...NO More drilling in our costal waterways! I really prefer no more drilling period! Lets work 24/7 on CLEAN ENERGY NOW!!! Thank you.

Mary NoahMay 22 2010 08:13 AM

I agree with Mr. Salmony, although he complicated his poetic rhetoric. If everyone would rally, we could do many things to save the planet. Quitting offshore drilling is a HUGE move in the right direction. Our dependency on oil and the automobile, have been a big part of our demise. Find a job nearer to where you live and avoid the commute, save H2O by reusing as much as possible. We need to find methods to effectively clean up our water so we can drink it. We need to teach our children to recognize the destruction of the environment. Our generation is scoffing at us. There can be other ways to create jobs that are kind to the environment. Our planet is going to end up looking barren with spent machines laying around like the movie sets in "The Terminator". So much is possible if we could just get people to work on it, corporations and cities, individuals with a conviction.

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