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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs