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Joe Barton sticks other foot in mouth

Joe Barton says he is ashamed of the American GovernmentUpdate, September 2, 9:40 AM:  It should be noted that the drilling moratorium discussed in this article - the moratorium that Joe Barton thinks is "stupid," is temporary. Moreover, the moratorium only applies to new wells until basic safety issues are addressed. Now, the Associated Press reported that a  drilling rig off the Louisiana coast operated by Mariner Energy, is burning. Good times.  The following commentary was originally posted on August 23 ...

With two feet firmly planted in his mouth, it is amazing that Joe Barton, Chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee can speak at all.  Earlier this year we called for the resignation of Joe Barton on the grounds that he has been influenced by massive campaign contributions from the oil industry. You'll recall that it was Barton who  touted the safety and environmental responsibility of deep water drilling operations,  saying that the rigs are able to operate  "... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; all without so much as losing a gum wrapper over the side of the platform." 

 And it was Barton who apologized to British petroleum (see video) saying he was "ashamed" of his own government for forcing BP to clean up the spill and compensate the victims.

Now, Barton has called the Offshore Drilling Moratorium, which expires in about 90 days on November 30, "Stupid." 

If the only thing polluting the Gulf right now were gumwrappers, then yes, a temporary moratorium on new drilling while the   safety issues involving deepwater drilling are evaluated might be "stupid."  If the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which issues the permits, wasn't completely corrupt, it might be "stupid." If Prince William Sound wasn't still filthy with oil 21 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, it might be "stupid."  And if Exxon hadn't litigated with its victims for 20 years -- after bankrupting many of them --  it might be "stupid.*"  And finally, if Joe Barton hadn't received $4 million from big oil and energy companies in the last ten years, his statements might not seem quite so  ... Stupid. 

* After lengthy appeals, Exxon's damages, which were estimated at $5 billion, were slashed to $500 million. For the fisherman, many of whom died of old age during the twenty-year appeals process,  the final settlement averaged $15,000