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Monday, May 24, 2010

Remarks by Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, May 24, 2010, on the BP Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster and our addiction to oil

Majority leader Harry Reid went to the Senate floor today to deliver his take on the connection:
“It’s been nearly five weeks since oil started spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and onto our shores.  Millions of gallons, miles of polluted coastline and more than a month later, the consequences of our oil addiction are as clear as the Gulf’s waters once were.
“It’s also become clear that the companies responsible for this spill were poorly prepared for this possibility.  There’s no question that they failed to adequately invest in the technology necessary to respond to such a catastrophe.
“Days have turned into weeks while the experts continue to experiment with ways to stop the spill.  We still don’t know when the end will come so the clean-up can begin.
“Every year, these companies rake in record profits.  Then they turn around and spend that money on trying to find more oil.  It’s time they also find safer ways to drill for it and handle it.
“The five top oil companies have made three quarters of a trillion dollars in profits alone over the past decade.  But the amount they’ve invested in cleanup technologies is negligible.
“And they’ve invested embarrassingly little in alternative fuels that would make us more secure both at home and abroad.  I don’t mind oil companies or any other company making money.  But these multibillion-dollar corporations are getting rich at the expense of our national security, our economy and our environment.
“Every day we pay unfriendly regimes to feed our oil addiction is a day we are less safe.   Everyone who stands in the way of diversifying our economy makes it harder for businesses to recover, for the unemployed to find work and for our communities to prosper.  And every time we see precious water and wildlife coated in crude oil, the threat to our environment is impossible to ignore.
“Weaning ourselves off of oil is a hard fact for us to face.  We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but produce less than 3 percent of it.  It’s not a change we can make overnight.  But if we don’t start, the next disaster could make the current one look like a drop in the bucket.
“I’m tired of waiting for oil companies to get the message.  America needs clean alternatives more urgently than ever.  In the meantime, those responsible for this spill must foot the bill, and I will do everything I can to make sure they do.  Taxpayers will not pick up the tab."

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