News / USA

Environmentalists Seize on Gulf Oil Spill

Environmentalists protest the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in front of the White House
Environmentalists protest the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in front of the White House

Multimedia

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is turning into a major ecological disaster.  But the political fallout from the spill and impact on the future of offshore drilling remain to be seen.    

"Oil and water don't mix!  Clean it up and make it quick," demanded one protester as demonstrators took to the streets of Washington in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.

First to the Department of Interior, which regulates the drilling. Then to the White House to deliver a loud message to President Obama.

"Oil and water don't mix.  Clean it up and make it quick," they said. 

"And we believe that President Obama really needs to divest from dirty energy sources, from drilling, from mining, or else we are going to have these same kinds of disasters over and over again," said environmentalist Phil Aroneanu.

Analysts are already trying to figure out the political impact of the spill. But oil industry defenders say it is too early to know.

"Well, at this point it is really too soon to tell," said John Felmy, who is with the American Petroleum Institute. "The industry is focused on recognizing that this is a tragic incident.  The first thing we need to do is to stop the flow of oil, clean it up and then understand what happened."

In the wake of the Gulf spill, the oil companies are on the defensive, trying to fend off criticism from the president.

"I saw firsthand the anger and frustration felt by our neighbors in the Gulf," said President Obama. "And let me tell you, it is an anger and frustration that I share as president."  

And from members of Congress. Senator John McCain sought answers about the cleanup from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano  at a recent hearing.

"And where is your level of optimism," asked Sen. McCain.

"I'm just taking it day by day," replied Napolitano.

"Wake up!  Wake up.  Drill baby, drill, means spill, baby spill," chanted demonstrators.

Environmentalists believe the oil spill could build support for alternatives to fossil fuels.

"And we know that with the technology of now, the technology of the future, with wind and solar, that disasters like this will no longer be possible," said one protester.

But oil industry economist John Felmy says not so fast.

"Where do we get our energy?  Right now we get 37 percent of our energy from oil, and we have got 250 million cars that don't plug-in, don't run on natural gas, don't run on alternatives, and so we are going to need oil for the foreseeable future," he said.

Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans still favor offshore drilling, but the numbers are down slightly in the wake of the spill, and could drop further depending on the eventual environmental impact.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid