From the Department of U.S. Imperialist Lies, Hypocrisy, and Destruction of the Planet

Joe Biden Approves Deep Sea Oil Drilling in a Hurricane Zone

Correspondence by the Environment Writers Group, revcom.us

US Coast Guard vessels spray water on Deepwater Horizon fire.

 

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil drilling platform explosion, fire, and massive oil spill in 2010. This was the largest oil spill in U.S. history, 4 million barrels of oil poured into the Gulf. The gusher of oil was not stopped for 87 days.    Photo: U.S. Coast Guard: National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Report

No sooner had the ink dried on the obscenely hollow climate agreement at the Glasgow climate summit than the Biden administration showed its true colors. In Glasgow, Biden claimed the U.S., the country most responsible for the climate crisis, would “lead by example” in preventing further catastrophic global heating. This past Wednesday, November 17, the Biden administration announced that it's auctioning off oil and gas drilling leases for over 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, a tumultuous hurricane zone. In the midst of an existential climate crisis—one that could literally make the Earth uninhabitable for future generations of human beings, and that is being directly fueled by the burning of oil, gas and coal—this sale will be the largest such offshore lease sale yet.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig Platforms and Pipelines map

 

Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig Platforms & Pipelines    Credit: Strikelines.com

In his first year in office, Biden has administered drilling permits at a faster rate than the open climate change-denier Trump!1  The amount of oil and gas in the offshore fields, if all extracted and burned, would emit over 516 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, which is roughly equal to the annual emissions of 112 million cars!2

The Biden administration claims that they have no choice, that they are bound to follow a court ruling from a fascist Trump-appointed federal judge who sided with the oil and gas industry—but this is bullshit for several reasons. Not only is this court ruling illegitimate from the perspective of what’s needed to prevent the triggering of numerous dangerous tipping points from the further burning of fossil fuels, but the ruling itself may very well be illegal3; the Biden administration only appealed the ruling months after the fact; and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act already gives the president the legal authority to stop this kind of offshore oil and gas drilling4—drilling that is very dangerous, and virtually guaranteed to lead to horrible oil spills with catastrophic effects on ocean and shore life, including the people living on the Gulf Coast.

BP Thunder Horse platform after it was damaged by Hurricane Dennis, in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

BP’s Thunder Horse oil drilling platform after being hit by Hurricane Dennis in the Gulf of Mexico, 2006.    Photo: U.S. Coast Guard: National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Report

But the bigger—and more essential—take-home point is this: the rulers of this system CANNOT STOP drilling and burning fossil fuels. These fuels are too profitable, too embedded within the transportation, infrastructure, global commodity chains, agriculture, and industrial sectors, too important to the very functioning of this system of capitalism-imperialism, for the kind of rapid, mass-scale transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources of energy required. In order to deal with climate change, WE NEED SYSTEM CHANGE. (See here, here, and here.)

And that requires an ACTUAL revolution—to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different, socialist system on the road to communism. With the environmental clock ticking away, and with the purportedly “pro-climate” Democrats literally setting the world on fire behind their false promises and honeyed words, we must stop trying to reform this system, hoping the rulers "come to their senses" and instead get organized NOW for this revolution!

From the Revcoms: A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution

 

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FOOTNOTES:

1. “US auctions off oil and gas drilling leases in Gulf of Mexico after climate talks,” The Guardian, November 17, 2021 [back]

2. “U.S. holds historic oil and gas lease sale in Gulf of Mexico days after climate summit,” CNBC, November 17, 2021 [back]

3. As argued by Drew Caputo, a vice president of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife and Oceans at Earthjustice, “The court ruling says that if you write a five-year leasing plan and it has a lease sale in it, you have to go forward with the lease sale. … That’s wrong legally because there are plenty of cases out there that recognize that the government has the ability to adapt and has the discretion to delay or cancel lease sales.”  "Why the Biden administration just sold offshore oil leases, despite campaign pledge," Yahoo News, November 17, 2021  [back]

4. "Why the Biden administration just sold offshore oil leases, despite campaign pledge," Yahoo News, November 17, 2021  [back]

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