FREEPORT – Publisher Richard Connor’s column “Obama’s slick escape,” which ran in the Telegram’s Insight section on May 23, is factual, but he concludes that “mainstream” media is treading lightly on President Obama’s response to this latest oil spill tragedy.

In building this case, he does a disservice in his obvious bias and overriding animosity toward the Obama administration.

I’ve been extremely disappointed with Obama, but Mr. Connor spends an inordinate amount of space comparing this oil spill to Katrina, with the sole purpose of highlighting the differences in how the media reacts.

Somehow, he believes that Bush was treated harshly and Obama is being given a pass.

I have two responses: How can he believe this — and who cares? These are hardly comparative tragedies.

The first was a natural disaster, which is typically handled by a coordinated effort involving appropriate federal, state and local agencies. Yes, there were a series of mistakes in this coordination, and as much as people would like to put all the blame on Bush, what’s the point?

He really had nothing to do with those mistakes. Certain systems did not function, certain procedures were inadequate, and certain individuals at every governmental level could have acted quicker and smarter.

Let’s fix systems and correct human behavior instead of railing against a single scapegoat, like Bush.

A more useful comparison would be the Exxon Valdez accident, 20 years ago. Both events are similar in that they are not natural disasters, they have done, and will do, tremendous harm to the environment and the responsibility for recovery rests squarely with the corporations involved.

He mentions that it took 11 days for Obama to visit the oil spill. Who cares? How long did it take G.W Bush to visit the site of an 11-million-gallon oil spill in Prince William Sound? He never did visit it.

The important issues are, how quickly can we improve the “fail safe” systems and the governmental agency oversights for the exiting offshore wells, and how soon can we impose a carbon tax on oil that will change our country’s habits in a quick and dramatic fashion?

There are approximately 4,000 offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. It is estimated that over the life of the platform, each one sends 90,000 tons of toxic waste water and metal filings into the gulf. That’s a total of 360 million tons (over 16 million tractor-trailers).

And this doesn’t include all of the various “minor” spills of oil. Note the comments regarding the recent tar balls found on the Florida coast. The state inspector on the scene stated that an analysis would be needed to determine the source, since there are always tar balls washing ashore.

And sure enough, as it turned out, these tar balls were not from this recent disaster. We are fouling our own nest so much that we are becoming numb to our own pollution.

We have to stop drilling in depths that exceed our technical abilities to execute any adequate disaster plan. Currently, exploratory platforms are attempting to drill even twice as far, under water. More than once, the BP representatives have responded with the statement, “We’re going to see if this next procedure works, but we have to warn everyone, it’s never been tried at these depths.” Wow — if that’s true, then what the heck are we doing down there in the first place?

Mr. Connor, we need to learn from this disaster, both in terms of improving our systems and of saving our planet. Oil, coal, and nuclear are no longer the answer.

How we move beyond these destructive forms of energy is a critical concern, much more critical than your fixation on whether or not Obama is being handled fairly by “mainstream” media.



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