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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid