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January 16, 2018
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Uncle Dickie at the Bar examines the logic behind the decision to open our oceans to drilling around the U.S., everywhere but Florida.

It was a cold, snowy, rainy, slushy day of the new year. I decided I desperately needed a cold one to celebrate Hawaii not being destroyed, so I stopped in at my local pub. Uncle Dickie was at his usual seat, beer in hand

“Well now,” I said, “what’s the word of the day?”

“I’m still trying to understand something,” he noted, “that’s kind of been shuffled under the rug with all the big news out there. ”

“You mean besides shithole countries, sex with Stormy, Oprah for President, MeToo, Fire and Fury, sloppy Steve, sneaky Diane and a vital investigation of Hillary Clinton, who hasn’t held an office since 2013?”

“Yes, even more than all of that. What I wonder about is how we are now opening up the oceans all around the entire counry to deep sea drilling, except for Florida, who evidently just had to ask and they were excluded.”

“Hmmm,” I said, deciding to play the role of the straight man.

“Well, I’m assuming there probably was a lot more to it than that. I’m sure that the powers-that-be examined all of the business facts and figures that substantiated the decision. You know those business guys like to talk about due diligence.”

“So, in your view,” he said, “you think the people behind this decision collected appropriate data, considered the best outcomes, then concluded that it’s in the best interests of the country?”

“That would be my hope. I’m sure they looked at the added energy capability for the U.S., and the jobs created, then made the decision. That is the way big-time business guys do things. And as you know, we now have big-time business guys in office.”

“That is true,” he said. “In addition to our President, we have many top level financial people from Goldman Sachs and Exxon in charge of things.

"So given that, it would follow that their decisions are based on facts, data, and quantifiable measurements, since that is how many businesses operate. So, why then would they allow Florida to be excluded in the week following their annoucement?”

“I would say, hopefully, because they studied the data and determined that Florida’s economy is so strongly based on beachfronts and tourism.”

“So, in your opinion, a rational business decision was made that the environmental impact of an oil spill would be more devastating to Florida.”

“Yes. Maybe.”

“Well, based on the decision made, which may or may not have included significant study of information, the logical inference of the public decision is that other states, including South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, all have much less to lose than Florida if something catastrophic happened to their coastlines.”

“That would be the business-person’s inference. Due diligence, based on facts, data. Something this important would have had to be carefully considered.”

“Playing the devil’s advocate, do you suppose it’s possible that the decision, counter-acting orders in place for 30 years, really were made without data on potential consequences, but only information from oil companies on what oil companies wanted to do?

And is it possible they had no real monetary or technical reason to exclude Florida, they just did it for either political support, or monetary gain, or they’re just really nice folks who like Floridians.

"It’s a possibility they had no real reason to exclude Florida,” I admitted. “except for the items you noted.”

“So, potentially, and being somewhat of a skeptic, it could have been that the decision to exclude Florida, was not really based on facts, data, or due diligence, but on something else.

"Next,” he went on, “given that they made this exclusion, doesn’t that infer that the possibility exists that something catastrophic could happen? In other words, they didn’t fight Florida to be included, they just went along with their request. If nothing is likely to happen, why give in so easily?

"Well,” I said, feeling some pressure, “it could be they are pretty sure nothing will happen. There are supposedly a lot of these wells around, and usually they must work ok.”

“Yes, mostly they do. However, have you ever heard of Deepwater Horizon?”

“Yes, but my guess is that it was an isolated incident.”

“Ok, maybe so. But what other action was recently taken regarding the safeguards put in place by the Obama administration to prevent another incident like that?”

“Uh, well, I understand they were rolled back. This administration is for jobs and oil. They evidently considered that regulation unneeded and are willing to take a chance.”

“But how could it be unneeded when it happened? Didn’t you see the movie? Lots of people were killed and it decimated the area.

"So, why in the world would they get rid of the regulations, but make a concession to Florida which admits that something could happen? Why not at least keep the regulations in place? What possible logic was used to concede that oil spills can be terrible to a population of people, then roll back regulations that could make them safer?

"I guess that would make sense,” I stammered. “Or maybe the regulations just went to far.”

“According to whom, do you suppose? The government, which created the regulations under a previous administration, or the oil companies contributing to our political process? And then do you suppose that a real, in-depth study was done to verify needed safeguards in the time since this rollback was being considered?”

“Not likely,” I conceded.

“So final question about this; where is it that our President goes off to every weekend for golf?”

“Eh, Florida. Mara Largo, Or Lago. Or Myra Lagos. Whatever.”

“Right. Now work with me here. We have one state excluded from oil drilling because it can cause environmental destruction, especially with rolled-back safeguards. And that state happens to be where the President lives a lot of the time, and where his quite a few of his businesses are.

"So, could it be seen that it’s ok to drill anywhere else but where he lives, and where he’ll live after making America great again? And doesn’t that seem a bit odd?”

“Well,” I said, “it could appear to be a conflict. And it’s possible that the due dilegence done wasn’t very diligent, or at least it was more like politicized diligence.”

“That is my point,” he concluded. “In the flurry of all of the other nonsense going around, our government enacts a monumental order that could have tremendous effect on everyone but the President and the state he lives in, but this all takes a back seat to Bannon, shitholes, strippers, fake news, Hillary, and no collusion.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I admitted. “Maybe he is a stable genius.”

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