Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 173- Abuses of power

Dear Mr. President,

I started my new job today. It's much more responsibility than my last job, and requires me to make quick decisions, often based on little information, my own instincts and my own experience. If I screw up, things could get stolen, crimes could go unnoticed, or some one could get hurt. Still, I could go completely rogue, I could overlook laws and safety regulations and do everything in my power to cause as much harm as possible and, still, I could not destroy the Gulf of Mexico. While I'm sure that the people who's jobs depend up on the oil industry were relieved to hear the court's decision to overturn your moratorium on new deep-water drilling projects, I can't imagine that 63 days have been enough for the industry to have adopted practices or contingency plans to avoid, or more quickly react to, another disaster. Yes, every one deserves to make a living; but the dangers posed by this industry's reckless pursuit of efficiency at the expense of safety are too great to blindly continue to drill as we did before. Because of the industry's ties to the agencies that regulated them, they have operated on what could generously be called an honor system; BP has demonstrated that none of the deepwater drilling projects are prepared to effectively deal with the kind of disaster we're now two months into dealing with. Most likely, it won't happen again; if it does, the consequences would be unimaginably devastating. is that a risk that this judge feels willing to take? Further regulation, further oversight is needed, and until that happens, allowing new projects to go forward is irresponsible.

I can't regulate the safety practices of the oil industry. I don't have the education or the skills. I put faith in my government to do this for me, and it has failed us all. The judge overturning your moratorium is now a part of this failure. We cannot place the value of a person's livelihood above the value of the lives it may destroy. I find myself increasingly disturbed by the world we live in; a world where the President may order covert assassination of American citizens, may rendition and torture and twist a person's status to deny them legal rights, but where he may not threaten the profit margins of the oil industry. When did corporate interests become more powerful than the legal rights enshrined in our constitution? The executive may ignore Habeas Corpus, or due process or the first amendment, but to try to protect the American public and the environment from the reckless behavior of an entire industry is beyond his ability? I'm really not trying to make you feel worse about the court's decision, but it seems like the power of the executive really ought to be wielded to protect the individuals who are not powerful enough to defend themselves, not those organizations who exploit them.

Respectfully yours,


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