Darrell Issa: Drill, Baby, Drill
Darrell Issa has a long history with mining and oil drilling, including a decade leading oversight of the Mineral Management Service. During that time, a number of scandals and management failures were discovered by others, and Darrell Issa consistently pressed
for expanded oil drilling. Then, immediately after the disasterous Gulf Oil Spill a year ago, Issa began regurly claiming credit for having identified major problems at MMS years before the spill -- which he continues to brag about to this day. Of course, Issa's particular Cassandra complex on the dangers of oil drilling never stopped him from pressing for more drilling, even marking the one-year anniversary of the Gulf spill last month by calling for more drilling
Their top concerns? That the permitting process to increase oil drilling is too restrictive, particularly related to the potential environmental impacts. It seems as though a few months later, they're getting their hearing.
It hasn't been a good twelve months for the oil and drilling industry in many respects. The Gulf oil spill was a stark reminder of the catastrophic impact when something goes wrong, and just two weeks ago the relatively new and controversial fracking process for onshore drilling prompted a major spill
in Pennsylvania, "spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze."
Faced with all of this resistance, it's natural that these companies looking to revive the chants of Drill, Baby, Drill would turn to Darrell Issa. He's received hundreds of thousands
from the Energy & Natural Resources sector over his career and has long-standing ties to the Koch Brothers
and their pro-drilling, anti-environment agenda. Issa has long battled against the EPA's efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions, and was a vocal opponent
of California's standard-setting pollution controls.
So on Friday, taxpayers will fund a field trip for the Darrell Issa and the Oversight Committee to Bakersfield, where he'll hold a hearing openly requested by the deep pockets of Big Oil examining ways for the country to be nicer to Big Oil. It won't be held in the Gulf region, where tar balls are still washing up on the beaches
It won't be held in Pennsylvania, where the rush to exploit a newly-discovered deposit of natural gas spilling "thousands upon thousands of gallons" of drilling fluid into the countryside. Instead it will be in Bakersfield, California; the heart of California's oil industry
. And Issa, whose job was to provide oversight of federal drilling safety standards in the years leading up to the Gulf Oil Spill will provide the stage to pitch the country that now
oil drilling is safe and there should be more.