Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gulf Spill Could Surpass Exxon Valdez as Environmental Disaster

All indications are that the oil spill currently raging from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico will be the worst environmental disaster to hit the U.S. in recent memory - and possibly ever. Comparisons are being made to the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, even though there was a finite amount of oil in place there that eventually leaked into the Puget Sound, killing thousands of animals and contaminating the ecosystem to this day.

With Obama's recent announcement that U.S. was going to allow the ban on coastal drilling to expire, this disaster could not have come at a worse time. The backlash from not just the disaster, but the perceived lack of an appropriate response by the U.S. government is going to likely haunt the administration, especially among moderates and independents would would have assumed that the Obama administration would be more proactive in addressing such a disaster.

Some are speculating that this event could become synonymous with government incompetence and under-responsiveness, in much the same way that Hurricane Katrina haunted the Bush administration. There is no doubt that the U.S. response to this disaster is going to be highly scrutinized, especially in areas that are going to be immediately affected, namely states with coastlines in the Gulf.