Let’s Move “Beyond Petroleum” Already!

After sitting through Tuesday’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on BP’s recent pipeline failure up in Prudhoe Bay, I was left wondering if anything would ever change.

Sure, even the pro-drilling senators were up in (BP Execs) Bob Malone and Steve Marshall’s faces about their company’s inability to properly maintain the pipeline infrastructure to prevent corrosion–a feat accomplished while BP raked in billions in profits.

However, instead of seeing Prudhoe Bay’s largest oil spill ever and the shutdown of half the oil field in August as a wake-up call to begin weaning the country off of oil, senators berated the BP execs because…

“We won’t get the votes we had already on ANWR, not to mention moving ahead,” — Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.).

“You have completely set back any hope we had to get that bill [drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] passed in the Congress of the United States, I hope you know that” — Sen. Jim Bunning, (R-Ky.).

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) even spent almost her entire opening statement pushing for more drilling in warmer areas such as her home state of Louisiana.

These senators seem to think that the Prudhoe Bay pipeline failure is an anomaly, and that the failure to act in a responsible manner is exclusive to BP. But oil spills are not exactly uncommon–about 1.7 million gallons are spilled into U.S. waters each year (this doesn’t count onshore spills).

We know we can’t rely on oil companies to put the environment at the top of their list of priorities. So why can’t our legislators realize that the time has come to focus on new energy sources?