Gumby and the Mad Hatter Meet US Energy Policy

As Dan notes, the Coast Guard is reporting the explosion of a nonoperating oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  The last I heard, there were no fatalities, and several workers there were able to escape using flotation clothing, better known as “Gumby Suits.”  Obviously, had the oil rig been functional, there is a strong probability (although not certainty) that there would have been another devastating oil leak. 

Of course, this makes the prospects of US clean energy legislation less likely.  American politics is so insane at this point that it’s not particularly clear that explanations can suffice.  The rig explosion means that there is even less likelihood of renewing drilling, which is the GOP demand for any support of clean energy legislation.  But the coherence of such an explanation turns on the bizarre assumption that it is coherent to demand something stupid in exchange for something smart.

I turned off the radio report this morning, and listened with my 5-year-old to the wonderful audio edition of Alice In Wonderland, which actually is a better description of the current American political scene:

“Take some more tea,” said the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

`I’ve had nothing yet,’ Alice replied in an offended tone, `so I can’t take more.’

`You mean you can’t take less,’ said the Hatter: `it’s very easy to take more than nothing.’

`Nobody asked your opinion,’ said Alice.

`Who’s making personal remarks now?’ the Hatter asked triumphantly.


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Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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