US House Rejects Lifting Offshore Drilling Ban  

Posted by Big Gav

Interesting to see that energy security concerns (not that they'd really be alleviated in any meaningful way by more drilling) haven't overwhelmed environmental conerns just yet - expanded offshore drilling in the US is still being blocked. (via Grist).

Peterson said lifting the drilling ban was necessary to ease skyrocketing natural gas prices that hurt senior citizens living on fixed incomes and force US companies to relocate overseas where gas is cheaper. "As long as the door is shut on domestic natural gas production, we will continue to export American jobs, pay higher energy bills, and prop up rogue nations that control the oil and gas spigots of the world," Peterson said.

However, opponents said the plan would violate the rights of states to protect sensitive coastal and marine areas. "This amendment is bad policy and reflects the misguided attempt to try and drill our way out of energy problems," said Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of California. "It takes only one accident or spill to devastate the local marine environment and economy."

US natural gas production is expected to fall further behind growing demand, especially from new power plants fueled by gas, making the country more dependent on imports.

Also noted by Grist, the debate on what is less environmentally unfriendly - cloth or disposable nappies - has ended in a draw - apparently they both suck equally. Nevertheless - I still think biodegradable nappies should be used if possible (especially if they are produced somewhere that doesn't require them to be hauled half way around the world (as most of them seem to be produced in Europe).

And on a more disturbing note, lunatic US fundamentalist Senator Inhofe (who lists despoiling the atmosphere amongst his favourite hobbies while waiting for the Rapture) is linking people who support environmental organisations with terrorism. So next time you hug a tree (or make a donation to Greenpeace), watch out - you might find yourself sharing a cell with some random Muslim who's just been hauled off the streets as well.
Now, I don't really have a conspiratorial temperament. I tend to think that stupidity is responsible for far more of what ails the world than evil -- which is why I'm more optimistic than many of my eco-brethren. However, this seems worth worrying about. After all, as the old saying goes, it's not paranoia if they're really watching you.

Trying to drum up this sort of frenzy serves dual, overlapping purposes. One, it reignites some of the flagging terrorist hysteria that does so much to prop up the right wing, greasing the skids for a further expansion of domestic police powers. Two, it works to discredit the green movement as a whole, greasing the skids for further deregulation of corporate power. At the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee show trial yesterday, they trotted an FBI flunky in to proclaim earnestly that the ELF and the ALF constitute the single greatest domestic terrorist threat the nation faces today.

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