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The 7 Stupidest Statements Made About the BP Gulf Oil Spill

Environmentalists probably blew up the oil rig (courtesy of Rush Limbaugh) and other idiotic conservative ideas.
 
 
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The BP oil spill is on par to outpace the Exxon Valdez oil spill in terms of size, impact, and devastation, which is no small feat. The Valdez spill cost billions of dollars to clean up, killed hundreds of thousands of animals, and registered a debilitating effect to the coastal ecosystem. And yet, we see, once again, that there's no shortage of people who seem to forget easily, or are downright ignorant of the catastrophe an oil spill of this magnitude presents. To illustrate, I bring you the 7 stupidest things said about the BP oil spill so far . . .

Some of these statements are made out of pure ignorance, while others are clearly intended to downplay the impact of the event, and any ramifications it might have on offshore drilling in general. Without further ado:

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Photo via Doug Geivett

7. Rush Limbaugh: Environmentalists probably blew up the oil rig
Ah, yes. Where would any major event be if Rush Limbaugh wasn't around to say something idiotic about it? This time, Limbaugh predictably uses the fact that the explosion happened around Earth Day to, yes, blame environmentalists for it. Here's some of the quote:

But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they're sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here.

Such a sleuth, that Limbaugh. And that's just a snippet of his inane rant.

6. Rep. Taylor Compares Oil Slick to Chocolate Milk
On a television at a local station in Biloxi, Representative Gene Taylor (D-MS) attempted to downplay the severity of the oil leak -- yes, the one that may be spewing a million barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico -- by comparing it to chocolate milk. Taylor said, "I would remind people that the oil is twenty miles from any marsh. ... That chocolate milk looking spill starts breaking up in smaller pieces ... It is tending to break up naturally." His 'it's-not-that-bad" message took the host by surprise -- but his embarrassingly misleading attempts to save face for offshore drilling practices makes sense, as he's long a staunch supporter of expanding offshore drilling.

Also, that oil is already washing up on the shore. You're going to have to do better than pretending that this isn't a big deal.

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Photo via the Caucus

5. Sarah Palin Promotes Offshore Drilling As Massive Oil Leak Continues
File this one under the 'you've got to be kidding me' header. Seriously? Doesn't Palin at least have PR advisers that can tell her to hold off on promoting offshore drilling while the biggest offshore drilling accident in US history is spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf? Evidently not -- she went right on calling to 'Drill, Baby, Drill' at a speech in Kansas City last Saturday.

4. Bill Kristol Says Offshore Drilling Should be Brought Closer to Land
The conservative thought leader Bill Kristol has made a remarkably idiotic statement in the wake of the BP oil spill -- saying that "If we hadn't stopped closer-in drilling after the Santa Barbara accident 40 years ago -- we've had these Congressional restrictions until 2008, for 40 years -- we'd have more drilling closer in which is probably less dangerous, less treacherous than trying to drill 50 miles out from the coast," in a discussion on Fox News. Of course, if Kristol had his way, the oil would be piling up on shore much, much sooner, and preventative and cleanup efforts would be next to impossible.

3. T. Boone Pickens: "All of that will get cleaned up and we'll be back"
T. Boone Pickens, the famed oil man and architect of the thus-far non-operational Pickens plan, has made a surprisingly overoptimistic and largely ignorant assessment of the spill:

this is, you know, an unusual case but there've been others like this so I think way too much is being made of the... of the oil that's being... that's coming out there in the Gulf. All of that will get cleaned up and we'll be back... we'll be back to normal, the world hasn't changed because of this blowout.

He said this on MSNBC just last Sunday, when there was already plenty of evidence contrary to nearly all of those points: Experts have said that they'll be "lucky" if 15% of the spill gets cleaned up -- most of it simply will not. Secondly, there have not been others like this, as bad as this -- not in US history.

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Photo via the Guardian

2. Tony Hayward, CEO of BP: "What the hell did we do to deserve this?"
How about not complying with safety regulations, lobbying hard for softer, 'voluntary' safety reports as opposed to proper oversight, and boasting a history of negligence and accidents, for starters? Yes, the CEO of BP reportedly asked that question aloud to fellow executives in London -- and maybe he should take a closer look at his company's lousy safety record before counting himself (and his $5 million a year salary) as so unfortunate.

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1. Rush Limbaugh: Oil Spill is as "Natural as the Ocean Water is."
It's only fitting that our list begins and ends with Limbaugh. The first statement he made, while undeniably stupid, is the sort of thing that he can be counted on to spout while blathering about the 'left' and those 'wacko environmentalists'. But this statement is 100% objectively stupid: ""The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there," Limbaugh said. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is."

Woops. Here's TreeHugger's Michael Graham Richards taking down:

This shows a total lack of understanding, a big 'science fail'... "Natural" doesn't always mean good, despite what the marketing people would like you to believe. Arsenic, lead and mercury are as natural as can be, but you wouldn't want them in your food or your living room. Well, crude oil is also natural, but it's toxic to most living organisms (exceptions are rare, mostly bacteria), and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are the living room and fridge of countless species.

And once again, Rush Limbaugh has been proven to be, wholly and unequivocally, an idiot.

Brian Merchant is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor living in Brooklyn, NY.