Melissa Harris-Perry | March 03, 2013
>>> at the very end of the day on friday, even as most of us, even those of us who work in the media were getting ready to turn off the computers and head home, the state department issued their long-awaited draft of the environmental impact report of the excel keystone pipeline . after years of environmental activists and farmers and native americans pleading with the state department to consider the tremendous environmental impact involved in this nearly 2,000-mile long oil pipeline that would carry crude oil from canada to the gulf coast , a project that a leading american climate scientist has said would be game over for the climate, and the state department said, nah, project doesn't seem to pose much an impact on climate change . makes you wonder if we have learned anything at all. sarah, have we learned anything at all here?
>> i hope so. i hope so. have we seen strong reforms or are we having amnesia? yeah, i think we're having amnesia. not even three years after the spill and the media reports that there's been a recent study that suggests for that support for offshore drilling is about equivalent to what it was before the oil spill . if you remember right before the deep water horizon spill we were hearing this mantra drill, baby, drill and told by the oil companies , don't worry, it's safe. guess what? in august of 2009 there was a blowout, an explosion in the east timor sea that spilled for 74 days, so, you know, i hope our memories are a little longer this time. i hope that people learn to value our natural resources and recognize that we can't live without clean water .
>> i mean, the memory piece is not small. 311 olympic-sized swimming pools worth of oil dumped into the gulf during the bp spill, and here we are saying we need this excel for jobs.
>> i think also what the american people don't understand in this debate also is what is the right balance between maintaining a clean environment and also the need for energy, need for oil and the american people don't understand what the balance is. you're on either side, you're drill, baby drill or against it all, and i don't think there's been a great argument about what is the middle ground .
>> i'm going to push because i think we do understand, and i think we do understand that the thing we would have to do is consume less. the one thing --
>> but we haven't been asked to.
>> granted we have not been asked to, but part of the reason we haven't been asked to because every politician from dog catcher to president who says the real solution here is you're going to have to less, have a smaller house, you'll need to drive a smaller car and make different kind of consumption choices and we'll have to do it collectively and we're like, whoa, no, that is the american way . we are bigger, better, bolder and go draw whatever natural resource it is. it all belongs to us and allowed to use as much as we want.
>> we haven't been asked to. there hasn't been a president or anyone to say we need to collectively as a society consume less in order to protect our environment, and we can do th this.
>> tell us to consume more.
>> and we're america and we can do this together and we can protect our land and create jobs and still have the energy we need.
>> there's that large question and that punt to the american people has not been asked.
>> we talk about regulations and fines and punitive charges, but ultimately if we want to prevent these kind of things can't have oil companies going to increasingly risky and dangerous types of drilling, you know. we want to prevent the catastrophes when they do happen but we need transitions to safer forms of energy and that's a larger strategy.
>> there's a notion that these resources belong to us. guess what, they belong to all of the american people , and the gulf of mexico is our backyard so you're allowing bp and other oil companies to drill in our backyard, and when they do it they better be as responsible as possible. i don't -- you know, i don't buy the argument that, well, we followed the baseline regulations. regulations are a rifrmt you have to follow all the rules all the time, and if you can't follow rules you shouldn't play the game but in addition since you're drilling in our backyard and the consequences can be so severe, you have to use the utmost care.
>> there should be pre-clearance. i just got back from covering the shelby versus holder case with the voting rights act and states with a history of racial discrimination, they have to pre-clear any federal election laws with the federal government and same with the countries with a history violence and destruction. bp should have to clear every single decision, i don't care if it's moving a port-a-potty from one side of the bridge to the other. they need say is this going to be okay? will it cause harm, and if they can prove up front that it will not cause harm, then maybe we'll consider it, but, you know, it can't just be this thing where they have like a blank slate to just do whatever they want, and then after the fact they go and try to pay for it.
>> and i think we also are going to have to collectively more risk averse on this. i do think there's ways in which our focus on recycling makes us think we don't have to change consumption and tar sand oils makes us feel we don't have to make the cars smaller. if we don't to, that's fine. we're running into the face of the future generations. we're creating an environmental debt. thanks for joining me be angry with bp . starting to move forward.
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