Gulf Oil Spill and Government Irresponsibility

The following is a letter I wrote to The Telegram & Gazette. It is in response to this editorial: (


After reading “Not What’s Needed Now” (“Anger a Poor Substitute for Leadership,” Telegram & Gazette, June 20), my conviction in government ineptitude, especially in preventing potential disasters, was confirmed. The debacle during Thursday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing further illustrated the impotence of Big Government and proved that the emphasis should be placed on the free-market to clean and prevent future environmental catastrophes. Right now both sides of the spectrum frame their arguments in terms of how government could have prevented the Gulf Oil Spill: conservatives pointing to the Mineral Management Service and liberals outright criticizing the President for initial inaction. 

Unfortunately, both sides miss a prime opportunity to consider the impediments that government has already placed on safer off-shore drilling, namely regulations which unwisely forced deep sea drilling. Also, the federal government has lost a chance to repeal another irresponsible regulation, specifically a liability cap of $75 million in exchange for the government’s ability to dictate where rigs could drill. The error in this regulation is two-fold: $75 million is a drop in the bucket for Big Oil; and bureaucrats are incapable of knowing where to safely drill, something best demonstrated by the current mess.

We must demand our representatives turn their attention to more reasonable solutions by allowing the market to unleash more forceful pressures on Big Oil, which will better prevent future catastrophes. Unwise regulations enabled reckless behavior, and increased regulation will do so even more.

Clint Townsend


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