Critics Argue Young Downplays Spill

By Dave Donaldson

Opponents to Don Young’s bid for another term in Congress are responding to statements the Congressman made last week in which he said the nation should focus on learning from the B-P oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico since  – as he said – “it’s not an environmental disaster.”   

Following Congressional hearings on the spill,  Young said Congress should address the economic damages suffered by residents and the effects of the Obama administration’s moratorium on off-shore drilling on jobs and fuel prices.  And, specifically, he said Congress should write better rules affecting future development.

That’s what we should take care of.  This is not an environmental disaster. And I will say that again and again, because it is a natural phenomenon.  Oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries.  Will continue to do it.  During World War II there was over ten million barrels of oil spilled from ships and no natural catastrophe.  Looks bad to us, It’s a bad thing to see, we will lose some birds, we will lose some fixed sea life,  but overall it will recover.

The Democrat running for Young’s job,  Anchorage’s Harry Crawford,  said Young’s statement avoids reality.

The man is an ostrich.  He has his head in the sand if he can’t see this is one of the biggest,  if not the biggest man-made disaster in history.  I am furious at the regulating agencies, I am furious at B-P, I’m furious at the attitude that “do this without recourse.”  This is a huge disaster.

Crawford is angry at the comment, saying he wonders if Young is protecting the oil industry.   That’s a similar reaction of John Cox, of Anchor Point, who’s running in the Republican Primary for Young’s seat.  He says Young is being more supportive of the oil industry than he is the American people.

We know there’s a problem.  We know there’s a major disaster.  We know that this oil spill is going to affect the price of shrimp,  fish, and the economy.  Is it a major disaster?  Yes it is.  And it’s something we’ve got to do.  Now,  I’m sure there are ways to correct the problem,  However, the interest of B-P is at hand, and not the people of the United States.

Republican Sheldon Fisher says pictures from the Gulf of Mexico leave him with the same feeling in the pit of his stomach as he got when he saw the disaster in Prince William Sound.  However,  he sees Young’s point – it gives Congress a chance to improve.

After Exxon Valdez we didn’t stop shipping oil.  We changed the way we shipped, we went to safer procedures and double hulled ships and different things that have been adopted to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.   And we need to learn from this event and improve and we shouldn’t stop drilling for oil offshore.  I think it’s critical to our national security that we do that.

Young agrees — the nation should learn from the spill.  He says Congress needs to put stricter precautions into law – to avoid any future blow-out offshore in the United States.


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