Read time: 6 minutes

'Stewardship' By Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-BP)

According to Merriam-Webster, stewardship means: 1 : the office, duties, and obligations of a steward 2 : the conducting, supervising, or managing

According to Merriam-Webster, stewardship means:

1 : the office, duties, and obligations of a steward

2 : the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care (stewardship of our natural resources)

That is the word Mary Landrieu chose to emphasize in this Senate Energy Committee from Nov 19, 2009. Indeed, that was the official title given to the hearing:

FULL COMMITTEE HEARING: to receive testimony on environmental stewardship policies related to offshore energy production (Hearing Room SD-366).

Given Landrieu's history it was not surprising then that she would emphasize the economic benefits to the Gulf region, while minimizing the environmental risks. Landrieu had twice before downplayed the impact of any oil spill.

What was surprising, however, was her lecturing, her berating tone for those who were there to spell out the risks of deepwater drilling. The complete text is below. Landrieu's arrogance can be clearly seen in the video.

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The Chairman. Senator Landrieu.

Senator Landrieu. Thank you.

Let me begin, quickly, Mr. Chairman, by just thanking you for holding this very important hearing, because, like several of my colleagues have said, I think it's important for us to really examine the facts and to try to seek the truth, relative to the benefits and the risk associated with energy production.

I particularly like the term "stewardship," and I believe that stewardship actually begins with presenting facts in a way that tell the truth about what's really happening in offshore and onshore oil and gas.

So, knowing, Mr. Amos, that you would bring your charts, I brought some of my own. I'd like to start with a picture first.

I think my colleagues need to see a satellite image from NASA in the Gulf of Mexico, because most of the offshore oil and gas drilling in the Nation, of course, has gone on, as Mr. Amos said, for 40 years off of the State that I represent. So, we would know a lot about this. So, I brought a picture of what the Gulf looks like.

These are oil spills in the Gulf. This was taken, Tom, when? 2007. But, Mr. Amos, as you know, none of these spills are spills, they're leakages, natural seepage in the Gulf of Mexico. On any day, you could take a shot from NASA, in any ocean, in any place in the world, and you will see the oil like this, because of this chart. I'm going to ask Mr. Amos to read this chart. Go ahead, please.

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Mr. Amos. I'm sorry, I can't see it very well from where I sit.

Senator Landrieu. OK. Let me try to read it for you. It says petroleum transportation tankering, it's petroleum in American waters, 4 percent, which is the blue, from tankering. Those are spills caused by tankers that run aground because organizations like yours don't encourage safe domestic drilling, but we have to bring in oil from other countries, which is a lot more hazardous. I'll get to that in a minute.

So, these tankers run aground and spill oil in lots of places, including New Jersey and California and all places. Then cars and boats and other sources that Americans drive put 32 percent of the oil into the oceans. Then natural seepage puts 63 percent. Then, you see that little green? It's very small, so it's hard for a lot of people to see it, even though you don't--some people even have glasses--it's hard to see, so I'm going to point it out. It's 1 percent of the oil in the oceans--1 percent is from drilling. We could, if we work together and be truthful about what's happening, perhaps even eliminate that 1 percent, which is a very small portion. That's hopefully what this hearing will be about.

In addition, the other point I would like to make is that this 1 percent, which is a risk, and there are impacts, but, to put this into perspective, the spill that you cited in Australia which causes some people to back up--I want to give you these details here. You said it was the largest spill in Australia's history. It's true. It leaked 823,000 gallons of oil. As Mr. Cruickshank testified, it wouldn't even be allowed in this country, because it doesn't stand up to our strict environmental rules. But, let's say we had messed up and allowed it to produce oil off of our shores. The spill equals

one-third of the amount necessary to fill the Reflecting Pool outside of this Capitol. It's the largest spill in the history of Australia. It's a pretty long history. The rig that blew didn't meet our standards, but if we --it had slipped through and we had allowed it to drill, the oil it spilled would fill up a third of the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

reflecting-pool-washington-dc_28ccc.jpg

The Reflecting Pool as seen from the top of the Washington Monument.

[Edit: Later John Amos would say of this encounter with Landrieu:

"She was accusing SkyTruth of not being truthful," Amos tells HuffPost. "She took a photo [of the spill] produced by Sen. Menendez's staff, she pointed at it and said, 'The fact is, these things happen.' I was speechless."]

So, Mr. Chairman, I think one of the ways forward is for

people to start telling the truth about what actually happens, onshore and off. The risk associated with offshore oil and gas

drilling domestically are far outweighed by the benefits. I'm

going to go about 30 seconds over my time. Those benefits would

be victory in World War II, would be the Industrial Revolution,

would be the automobile or the airline industry. You do a great

disservice, you and your organizations, in not telling the American people the truth about what happens in domestic drilling, onshore and off, and putting it in the perspective that it deserves.

So, my second point--and I'll be very, very brief here--is that stewardship also, I think, starts with understanding that the more we push this industry off of our own shores and off domestically, it goes to countries that we have absolutely no control over, that don't even have democracies, that don't have lawyers, that don't have courts, that, when things go wrong, it can't be fixed easily, countries like Cuba or Venezuela, or places like Saudi Arabia or other places.

So, I would strongly suggest that we have more hearings like this. The people that I represent--and I'm going to show one more chart, which talks about this, and I'll give back my time, Mr. Chairman--we brought this chart. We use it a lot, because this is what the Gulf looks like. That doesn't look like a bad picture to us, that looks like a jobs picture to us, because thousands of people are employed, laying those pipelines, working on those rigs, producing tremendous wealth for this Nation. We intend to pursue this in other places in the country, as well.

landrieu_5f5a4.jpg

Thank you.

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