Tone-Deafness: We Haz It

August 4th, 2010at 07:24am Posted by Eli

The Obama administration continues to demonstrate their ultra-keen political instincts and compassion for the common man.  First up, Ken Salazar going to bat for the oil industry:

July’s decision halted development on billions of dollars in leases in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea. Beistline found that the federal government didn’t follow environmental law before selling drilling rights. Among other things, he found the government had failed to analyze the environmental impact of natural gas development, “despite industry interest and specific lease incentives for such development,” according to court records.

The Obama administration is among those seeking clarification from Beistline, a rare recent case of the administration siding with the oil industry. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asked the court to narrow the ruling so that another company, Statoil, which owns 16 Chukchi leases, could start seismic testing roughly 100 miles from the coast. Government attorneys told the judge that Statoil, a global oil company partly owned by the Norwegian government, would likely face “significant economic losses” if it couldn’t proceed with seismic surveying.

Statoil said Tuesday it might cancel the seismic tests it hoped to do in the Chukchi this summer because it remains unclear whether the company will be allowed to do the work.

Environmental groups said they were stunned by the administration move, which they said undercuts the administration’s recent decisions to put the brakes on Arctic exploration in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

And, they said, marine mammals such as whales and walruses can be harmed by the testing. The impact of such tests on marine life was one of the issues the court said the federal government failed to consider adequately before issuing the Arctic drilling leases.

Awesome.  So nice to see the Interior’s deep concern for protecting the environment from the offshore oil industry.

And then there’s the always-reliable, prosperity-is-just-around-the-corner Tim Geithner:

Until now, President Obama and his advisers have been adamant that Congress should extend the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts only for individuals making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000, leaving tax rates on upper-income earners to increase as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2011.

But when asked repeatedly on ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether he would recommend that Obama veto an extension of the upper-income tax cuts, Geithner refused to commit.

(…)

“If you extend particularly these tax cuts that only go to 2 percent of the highest-earning Americans, then there’d be a much higher probability they’ll be extended indefinitely,” Geithner said. That would dramatically drive up the deficit and be “a deeply fiscally irresponsible act,” he added.

But asked again whether he would commit to a veto threat against any legislation extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts for now, Geithner responded “no.”

This sounds an awful lot like the healthcare reform fiasco, where Obama repeatedly claimed to support the public option, but refused to commit to vetoing any bill without it.  And after the way that turned out, it’s hard not to interpret a refusal to veto as a signal of tacit support.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Energy,Environment,Obama,Politics,Taxes,Wankers


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