Photo by lz. courtesy of Flickr

The DNC rapid response team just posted this:

Now, let’s get a little background on Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). From OpenCongress, his Environmental Record contains the following (emphasis mine):

Barton, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was criticized for many provisions in the 2005 House Energy Policy Act, some of which did not make it into the final Act (drilling in ANWR, for example). “Itemizing the anti-environmental provisions of the House energy bill is a mind-numbing exercise,” Frank O’Donnell, president of the Clean Air Watch wrote, including “new loopholes that could reduce gas mileage requirements; weaker protections for coastal communities; tax breaks to promote more coal burning. And that’s just the beginning.” O’Donnell continued, “Indeed, if the legislation became law in its current form, it would prolong smog problems in much of the nation, shift the burden of cleaning up poisoned water supplies from oil companies to cash-strapped public agencies, and even threaten environmental damage from some forms of renewable energy. These are on top of the well-publicized provisions that would permit big oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for a few months worth of oil that wouldn’t reach consumers for a decade.”

After President Bush signed the final form of the bill into law in July 2005, The Washington Post contended that the spending bill was really a broad collection of subsidies for United States energy companies; in particular, the nuclear and oil industries.

Let’s just remember that despite his GOP colleagues calling him out, Barton’s Apology (wow, I hope that gets turned into an historic phrase made permanent in textbooks of the future) is not Barton’s alone. He is only saying out loud what Republican (and some Democratic) policies have put into practice for years.

This oil spill is the logical outcome of a) an unsustainable national “way of life” that allows us to consume finite resources below cost; b) an intentionally handicapped regulatory and enforcement system which allows corporations to act out with no adult supervision and c) a political system which rewards politicians for self-preservation rather than the preservation of the civil society they are supposed to serve, politicians like Rep. Joe Barton.

Update: Sign the OFA petition (h/t SouthernGirl2) to voice your opposition to this nonsense. If Joe Barton should be apologizing to anyone, it should be to the people of the Gulf and to his constituents.

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