June 1, 2010

Looks like Louisiana's Sen. David Vitter is getting his talking points from former Shell Oil executive Ken Arnold who also likened the disaster in the Gulf to a plane crash last week. No one ever accused Vitter of being the brightest bulb in the Senate. Sorry Sen. Vitter but what's not rational is comparing an airplane crash to an accident so severe that it could destroy your state's economy.

CROWLEY: Watching this environmental mess come up and go into your marshes, come up on your shore, why doesn't that dissuade you from ever wanting deep sea or any kind of ocean oil drilling? It seems to me if it is so important, you should be now opposed to that?

VITTER: Well, I mean, by the same token, after every plane crash, you and I should both oppose plane travel. I don't think that is rational. I think we need to get our hands around this event, determine exactly what went wrong. We are going to need a lot of new technology and mandates and procedures to make sure it never happens again. And I will be a big part of that effort.

But to jump from there to say, no domestic offshore drilling, no domestic production of oil and gas, which is basically what you just suggested, I think is a crazy leap, quite frankly.

CROWLEY: I want to play you something the president said on Thursday at a news conference.



OBAMA: Let me make one final point. More than anything else, this economic and environmental tragedy -- and it is a tragedy, underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy.


CROWLEY: Agree or disagree?

VITTER: Sure, but we are not going to do it next week or next month. So we also need a plan to bridge where we are to that new future. I think the two biggest components of that bridge are natural gas and nuclear. They are here. we can deal with them. They are clean. But, you know, natural gas takes exploration and drilling.

CROWLEY: Senator, I need kind of a quick answer from you on this. We know that we have already -- that there has been the firing of one MMS official who had been overseeing the permit process. Should there be more firings in the federal government because of this?

VITTER: Probably. Certainly MMS. We knew two years ago -- from the scandals two years ago, that there were huge problems at MMS and they weren't cleaned up over these two years. So probably yes.

CROWLEY: Senator Vitter, we really thank you for your time...

VITTER: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: ... out of Louisiana today. we appreciate it.

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