July 15th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How should the Gulf oil spill affect this country's energy policy going forward?


Oil covered brown pelicans found off the Louisiana coast wait in a holding pen for cleaning at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are thousands of oil wells under the ocean. We have seen the effects of one going terribly wrong.

The economy of the Gulf Coast decimated… the fishing and tourism industries crushed.

If the administration's moratorium on offshore drilling is upheld by the courts this time around, thousands of additional people will lose their jobs in an economy already overrun with folks who can't find work.

Drilling for oil at these depths is risky at best and can be disastrous at worst - as we have seen.

But we need the oil… because for almost 40 years, since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, this country has failed to develop a coherent energy policy.

We just keep whistling past the graveyard of dependence on the Middle East and deep water drilling… waiting for the next crisis… whether it's another blown well, ruptured pipeline, or war in the Middle East that will interrupt the flow of oil and drive prices through the ceiling.

And it's not a question of whether there will be another crisis… it's a question of when the next one comes and how serious it will be.

But just like with so many of the other challenges confronting our country, the government and by extension we, the people seem content to live in a world of denial… unwilling to make the tough decisions necessary to make our energy future safer and more secure.

Here’s my question to you: How should the Gulf oil spill affect this country’s energy policy going forward?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Gary (who is retired from Texaco) writes:
My opinion is, not at all. The Gulf is where the oil is. One mistake, probably because of somebody's cost saving idea on the rig, overrode safety which caused it to happen and can never be allowed again. This has been a "wake-up call" for everybody - the government and the oil companies alike. To abandon oil drilling in the Gulf is to defeat America's attempt at energy independence. Off shore drilling simply needs to be done with more attention to procedures by all parties involved - simple as that.

Cel writes:
We should consider the spill as divine intervention. We are oil addicts who need to begin taking the methadone of green energy.

Richard in San Clemente, California writes:
Jack, Even without the oil disaster the country should be going full steam ahead to get ourselves off oil. Will we do any better now that we've had the disaster? Are the oil company stooges in Congress still there? There will be no change that the oil companies do not want.

Karl in San Francisco writes:
It should be the shot heard 'round the world. Historically, oil came from wells drilled in God-forsaken places we never heard of or could pronounce the name of and their rulers all wore robes and turbans and owned 100 Rolls Royces, each. Gas was 25 cents a gallon. Now, thanks to shortsighted thinking, we are drilling in places that never should be considered safe to drill, obviously.

Andrew in Amherst, New York writes:
Two things should come from this. One, we should be less dependent on oil as a nation and two this should prove the need to drastically increase our hydro and nuclear power supplies! I mean even the French get something like 80% of their power from nuclear plants, and they're the French!

Filed under: BP oil spill • Gulf oil spill • New Orleans • Offshore Drilling • Oil spill
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. nancy warden

    what a great 70th birthday present to have the well capped.
    NOW, lets have an energy policy that gets this country away from oil and coal.
    it took 10 years to go to the moon. surely we can do the same with renewable energy.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  2. jim

    i think we need to look a little closer to all we do jim missouri

    July 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  3. Bruce

    It should cause the feds to exercise their regulatory responsibility, but it won't because our "representatives" are owned and controlled completely by globalist corporations, and the likes of Rockefellers and Rothschilds – all of which have zero concern for the environment or the southern economy. We have had no policy other than that of maximizing profits of the coal, nuclear, and oil industries. I can't imagine the 'no-change president' changing that!

    July 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  4. Ted Trujillo

    We should tax all vehicles that get less than 30 mpg as much as it takes to get people to sell them.


    July 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Dolores Surprise AZ

    It should open some eyes to the fact that we need renewable energy for this country and get off the OIL dependency....I hope it will do just that but as long as Republicans are in bed with big oil, that just won't happen.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  6. LT from Leesburg

    Jack, Its sad that there are some who will be doing nothing but politicizing the gulf situation. Before this happened it was all about the economy, healthcare, and wall street. We elect officials to put policies and processes in place to change the things we dont like. It is idiotic to think that can happen overnight. There are those out there who will refuse to give Dems the credit for laying the ground work for change. Regulation of these oil companies and smarter exploration is what is needed. What a shame, because the Republicans cant wait to get back in charge in keep pulling the wool over the eyes of the ignorant.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Josh from Marietta, Georgia

    When you lose your house because of a gambling addiction, the moral lesson is not "next time, pick a game with better odds." The new moratorium on most deep-water drilling is a positive first step, but as a country we certainly need to be able to see the disaster as a product of the risks we'll take as we strain to feed our oil addiction.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Don

    How much will it affect the energy policy ??

    Because we are so stupid and our own worst enemy, It will not affect it that much.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  9. Jayne

    We should start moving in a serious way toward solar, wind, geothermal and other safe, renewable forms of energy. Sadly, this won't happen because there's big money in the game and greed rules. I'm grateful I have no children to inherit this earth.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  10. Kathie

    since the courts have overturned themoratorium on off shore drilling and the pleas of republicans (eg Jindahl, et al) to continue off shore drilling (for jobs) and the fact that the judges involved have ties to big oil this disaster will have only a negative effect. Greed will win out, deep drilling will continue without safeguards and alternative energies will lose. More oil disasters will continue.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  11. Mark, Oklahoma City

    Jack, off shore oil drilling should have just as many safety requirements involved as are required of a nuclear power plant. And when the world has finally poisoned our oceans to the point of seafood being extinct, I guess we can just eat petroleum gumbo.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  12. John from Alabama

    Jack: It should change it or at least the conversation on energy. We need a new plan, Stan. The United States needs to lead in developing new energy policy with new technology. During the last administration Dick Cheney and the oil companies made our energy policy. I think we need to take out the greed factor and replace with the best science.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  13. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    Henry Ford ran his cars on Hemp seed oil. Rudolf Diesel ran his cars on peanut oil. Thomas Edison prefered his electric battery driven car. Nicola Tesla powered his car with WIRELESS ENERGY!!! There has always been viable alternatives to petroleum oil, and none of them has ever caused an ecological disaster, a war or a depression. Since the days of Ford and Edison we have developed even more viable and efficient means of power. And these alternatives are easy to produce. But, we have been held hostage and kept ignorant of them for the sake of the petroleum economy. The Gulf oil spill should force us to make the alternative energy sources into the primary sources of energy. Sometime before the Gulf Coast catches on fire would be nice.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    It should have a lot of influence but you can bet the Republicans will fight it tooth and nail to make sure that there is nothing passed that will harm big oil and the lobbyist that stuff their pockets with money, one of these days the American people will realize what a bunch of low life's we have in congress and maybe just maybe we can vote them all out of office

    July 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  15. Joe R - Houston

    The short term gains and long term harm created by the crony capitalistic deals struck by business and government partnerships should finally be obvious. Promising future bailouts in the form of limited liability enticements should be replaced by business being held responsible for the consequences of their actions and result in no future need for coercive presidential shakedowns.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  16. Dee in Woodstock GA

    The oil spill should be a wake-up call. We need more and better mass transportation, more alternative sources of energy, and to get off the oil teat!

    We, the American People, are the real reason for this spill. We want cheap oil, we want to be able to drive our cars one block to go to a store, we regard our automobiles as a RIGHT that we are just not willing to give up. In other words, we are so selfish that we are perfectly willing to endanger our environment and our very lives just to be able to drive relatively cheaply.

    Until we decide that we can use mass transit for the greater part of our transportation, we will still be looking for cheap oil, and the companies that drill for it will be totally willing to cut corners to keep their bottom line in the black.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  17. Jim Blevins

    Obama called out an excellent energy strategy during the campaign. The BP catastrophe should make it much easier to implement this policy. It is obvious the big oil has way too much power - this should make it much easier to counter the power of big oil and implement a balance sustainable energy policy. Big oil has always been the power that has stopped solving our energy problem. With their power reduced, the problem may finally be solved.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    July 15, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  18. Arnold MI

    With the US consuming over 20% of the worlds oil supply it is quite obvious that our first priority should be to reduce our consumption which will mean that we need to drill less.

    With the Hy-Brids and Electric Vehicles hitting the market we are headed in the right direction, but the key to the success with these vehicles depends on our Elected Officials. The 2012 fuel economy standards for new cars mandates 36 MPG, but will the Congress enforce this? If the Congress decides to enforce these new standards, our oil consumption will begin to drop. If we return to "business as usual" allowing vehicles to be marketed with the sales pitch, "0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds" or a top speed of 173 MPH, then we can look forward to "spill baby spill."

    July 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  19. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio


    Please define "going forward". Then, what "Energy Policy" do you refer to ?

    July 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  20. Brian Smith PhD San Diego CA

    Jack: “Kick me once,…. that is your fault. If I let you kick me again, then I haven’t learned MY lesson.” How many times are we going to get a warning and then ignore it? Santa Barbara oil spill 1969, the ’73 oil crisis, the Exxon Valdez, $5.00 per gallon oil prices two years ago, and now the BP oil spill. Isn’t that enough warnings to suggest fossil fuel is bad news? But Nooooooooooo, too much money to be made by people in high places so we will once again ignore the handwriting on the wall and continue to use oil. How stupid. No… it will not change any policy much less energy.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  21. Scott Stodden

    I Honestly Think We Should Spot Off Shore Oil Drilling Altogether Because We Have Now See The Diasters That It Can Cause If Something Goes Wrong And Now Thousands Of People Are Out Of Work And Struggling Literally Struggling To Make Ends Meet! People's Lives Have Been Destroyed, People Can't Fish For A Living, Thousands Of Animals Are Probably Dead Or Uprooted From There Living Enviroment And For What So Big Oil Companies Like BP Can Make Money? This Is Wrong And Since There Are Reports That Prove Off Shore Oil Drilling Doesn't Reduce Our Dependence On Foreign Oil We Should Stop It Altogether Now Before Something Like This 10 Times Worse Happens! Let's Come Up With A Good Energy Plan That Will Create Jobs And Actually Allow Us To Have Our Own Oil, We Can Do It This Is America!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    July 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  22. Allen in Hartwell GA

    How about this?
    We sell price-controlled gas coupons to the public and limit them to 75 gallons per month per vehicle, with a two vehicle limit per household. The price could be a reasonable rate, say $1.50 per gallon. Then gas companies and service stations could set their tank rate at anything they wanted above and beyond $1.50, and the government could tax the free-market gas at $2.00 per gallon to subsidize the coupon program and maybe pay something on the national debt.
    If that sounds too marxists maybe we could hire people to stand at gas pumps with ballbats and smash the headlights of anyone driving a gas-guzzler.
    Hartwell GA

    July 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  23. Gary H. Boyd

    My opinion is - not at all. The Gulf is where the oil is. One mistake, probably because of somebody's cost saving idea on the rig, overrode safety which caused it to happen and can never be allowed again. This has been a "Wake-up Call" for everybody - the government and the oil companies alike. To abandon oil drilling in the Gulf is to defeat America's attempt at energy independence. Off shore drilling simply needs to be done with more attention to procedures by all parties involved - simple as that.

    Gary – retired from Texaco & living in Arizona

    July 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  24. Bert Oak View CA

    If we want to remain a viable country, we need to keep using every type of energy we can get

    July 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  25. Andrew Amherst NY

    Two things should come from this. One, we should be less dependent on oil as a nation and two this should prove the need to drastically increase our hydro and nuclear power supplies! I mean even the French get something like 80% of their power from nuclear plants, and their the French!

    July 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  26. Richard Green

    Even without the oil disaster the country should be going full steam ahead to get ourselves off oil. Will we do any better now that we've had the disaster? Are the oil company stooges in Congress still there? There will be no change that the oil companies do not want.

    San Clemente, Ca

    July 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  27. Bob in Florida

    Dear Jack;

    It SHOULD END oil dominance in the energy field. WE could cut the consumption of oil 99.5% if we use oil ONLY FOR LUBRICATION and the like. Solar panels, wind energy, geo-thermal energy and small amounts of nuclear energy TO CREATE ELECTRICITY to power vehicles, homes and everything else. YES, YOU CAN RUN A CAR ON SOLAR POWER ELECTRICITY. Then utilize natural gas for trucks and buses.

    BUT remember there is NO SUCH THING as clean coal, clean gasoline, clean desiel or even clean nuclear energy!!!!! THOSE ideas are MYTHS!!!

    July 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  28. Ralph Sato

    Congressman Ed Markey (D, MA) said that Congress will work on laws despite the recent success in stopping the oil flow, that will prevent a similar disaster from occurring in the future. Another consequence of the BP oil spill, is that you can be sure that the other major offshore oil production practices will be changed to emphasize prevention of future accidents.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  29. Karl from SF, CA

    It should be the shot heard 'round the world. Historically, oil came from wells drilled in God forsake places we never heard of or could pronounce the name of and their rulers all wore robes and turbans and owned 100 Rolls Royces, each. Gas was 25 cents a gallon. Now, thanks to shortsighted thinking, we are drilling in places that never should be considered safe to drill, obviously. With oil money running the show, they will milk it until one day there is no more oil. They've made their money and departed and we can only sit home in the dark. We need to start thinking for ourselves and quit listening to the Bush, Cheney, Congressional oil cartel and develop our future because the past is coming to a rapid close.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  30. Cel

    We should consider the spill as divine intervention. We are oil addicts who need to begin taking the methadone of green energy.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  31. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Its going to have as much effect as Obama and Al Gore can impose on it not taking consideration in the economic damage that it will do from having to import our oil .

    July 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  32. Jeff in Houston

    We MUST begin a WWII like crash program to start up alternative sources fo energy. And, we MUST raise the tax on oil to pay for it. Our addition to oil is as bad as our addiction to illegal drugs; both come from foreign nations that have no great love for our country. If the right-wing nuts cannot fold their tiny minds around this idea, just tell them its Islamic Oil. They always feel better with someone to hate.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  33. Rick

    It's time to get off our oil fix, like we were warned about 40 years ago.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  34. perry jones

    let BP clean the mess up and drill baby drill
    perry jones
    council bluffs ia

    July 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  35. ronvan

    JACK: Like a junkie needing their drug so are we as a country. So dependent on oil we cannot kick it even though we know better. And then, of course, are all those oil companies that spend billions on telling us how wrong we are!

    Van – Columbus GA.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  36. Rita Breitkopf

    I think we need to re-visit nuclear energy. Its being successfully harnessed in Europe. Yes, it can be dangerous, but is there any power plant in the world that is not potentially dangerous?

    July 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  37. Jimmy

    How should and how will are two entirely different scenarios. We should have change our minds about energy along time ago and until we do, we simply are in for more of the same. We will keep drilling deeper and deeper until finally we will make a mistake we cannot correct. It is very hard to put the Genie back in the bottle!

    July 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  38. Rene

    imo, if the energy industry cannot or will not reform itself then it's up to the government to organize that reform.
    the USA could go to the moon in under 10 years, why not reform it's energy industry in under 20? if you wanna save the world and yourselves, energy reform is a good place to start. imo.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  39. Jeremy D from Michigan

    It is obvious. We need to pump more attention and government money into clean technology. There is a car that can run on carbon, emitting only water. It's expensive, but if we can somehow manufacture it in a way that will make it last longer – then maybe family's can hand it down to their children, instead of a car losing it's value after ten years. The United States has always been at the front of innovation and technology. We landed on the moon Jack. We can do it if we really wanted to. I hope we do.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  40. russell

    I think this country is in definate need of a new energy policy, unfortunately, i am afraid that the current group of politicians and personel in the white house are incapable of making educated decisions when comes to anything that concerns the american public.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  41. Rob NH

    As an experienced engineer who has studied renewable energy technologies for more than forty years, I can tell you that without question: wind, solar and ocean energy are not the answer.

    We "think" it's the solution because of the following:
    1) For politicians everything green is political gold;
    2) researchers, who advise politicians are their benefiaries; and
    3) the media is selling hype to a well baited public.

    Renewable energy techologies may never be cost effective. If I'm wrong – show me the real, verificable data.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  42. Michael, Springfield VA

    First I want to correct you on where our oil comes from. Our largest importer of oil is Canada. Google US Petroleum imports and you will find an Energy Dept webpage that lays it all out for you.

    There are many Americans who would love an alternative to paying the pump prices to keep their cars running. I don't think anyone is in denial about that. Let's start by limiting the access of lobbyists on Capitol Hill including the petroleum lobby. Congress has been denying the American people a mandate for change. Not the other way around. Yes this has been going on longer than 40 years.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  43. Steve

    jack in the 70's we should have learnt the lesson that we need to get off oil. When we found out the oil crisis was a hoax, we should have gotten off oil. No, after the spill, the counties energy policy needs to change drastically. The entire paradigm of how energy is produced needs to change. Perhaps the millions of homes baking in the sun every day could be used to create energy instead of taking energy.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  44. chris otis

    Continue to drain all the oil out of the east while looking for sulutions at home.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  45. Dave Summerour

    Since we have the largest natural gas reserves on the planet why in the hell are we still using our enemies oil?
    Dave, Venice , FL

    July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  46. Nate

    First, we shouldn't react emotionally. The question is: How many times has this happened in the Gulf? How much oil have we been drilling there since starting? How badly do we need oil, regardless of alternative energy, to ensure our nation's finances and independence?

    We've already lost over $10B in taxes that our government hasn't collected from BP. Lets get the cash flowing again, the economy flowing again, then lets talk seriously about a long-term energy plan.

    Don't "use" a crisis for politics and such. Recover in a responsible way and THEN assess with a clear mind.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  47. Joanne Buch

    One thing is indeed a fact – we don't want these clowns who came up with the failed Stimulus, the boon doogle for Ins Companies Healthcare Bill (which by the way HHS has directed that now New Mexcico and Pa today to set up Abortion clinics with 37 Billion each to do so)....what happened to Bart Stupak's Executive Order? Obama is a liar and a fake.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  48. Judi Entress

    I recall back when we had a gas crisis in the 60's with lines at stations and people ready to do mayhem. Oh yeah, everybody was buying small, gas-efficient cars. How long did that last? You're correct; the American public wants what they want but with no pain. We are an instant-gratification society. Big business doesn't want us to do anything about the oil situation. Too many very important people have millions invested in this black gold. I don't know when the public is going to come to the realization that we are being controlled by big business. That is who has been running this country, and we, the voter's actually think it's some particular administration. I don' think I'll be here when (or really if) we ever become energy efficient. It is disgusting what we have become.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  49. Ed from California

    As long as we allow lobbyists to have the ear of our elected reps unabated. We will be in this same position forty years from now. I remember well the "oil embargo"(what a load then), and where are we now? Right back in the same place with the oil companies and Wall st running the show.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  50. Finley Eversole

    The world isn't willing to solve the energy problem. Over the past 100 years there have been at least 70 successful, working, nonpolluting free energy technologies - every one of which has been suppressed by the government and the energy cartels. Nikola Tesla tried to give the entire planet free energy in the early 1900s and JP Morgan undermined his efforts...and its been the same old story ever since! We KNOW how to supply limitless free energy on earth forever and it generates Zero pollution!

    July 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  51. Edinorlando

    Ultimately we need to significantly reduce our dependency for oil by whatever means possible. Initially, we need to reduce our dependency on OPEC oil. Reduced revenue to OPEC countries will take care of a lot of our problems.
    Don't like drilling in the gulf, but it does appear that the current (tentative) solution suggests that a repeat of this problem could be resolved fairly quickly if it should happen again.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  52. Larry

    Hey Jack ,Do you think anybodys know's that...The energy companys could if they wanted retrofit every single home in America to actually produce an excess of energy at no cost to the home owner and an actuall decrease in personal consumption costs....Do you think anyone knows about this and why this is not happening...? Here is the word 's of the day Corprocon-Nazipublicans...

    July 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  53. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    No more deep water drilling until the oil giants definitely know how to solve the problem immediately. The Gulf coast will never be the same. Lifestyles have been lost as well as our beautiful wetlands and coast and far too much wild life has been killed off. Our great country can most certainly develop other sources of energy to fuel our habits.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  54. H Hashim

    there is no world without risk! The question is how manage this risk. Replacing oil requires complete overhaul of how we live in this world. We have been talking about this for 40 years, and will continue until the last drop of oil is found and consumed!

    July 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  55. Steve D

    It should expedite alternative energy efforts. It won't for the same reason that over 300 scientists that reported they were close to producing fusion mysteriously died or disappeared. That reason is companies like BP have 132 billion in assets that would become worthless overnight should free or cheap energy become available overnight.

    The nuclear power plants that already exist have to be fully utilized for decades to come in order to recoup the bond money floated to build them should cheap or free energy come about they will take huge losses.

    Its all about money.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  56. Mark

    Jack, until Nuclear power is taken seriously in this country just like France has, we will never see oil dependancy freedom in 5 more generations.
    There is nothing to fear as the nuclear plant safety systems in the past, at 3 mile island functioned exactly as they were supposed to and NOTHING HAPPENED to this country or the environment.
    The NRC is ths only government regualtory agency that has any teeth, qualified professionals, and the power to independently control an industry and they do one hellava job. Why don't we let them do their jobs and get building nuclear plants again.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  57. Cognitus

    1. We should REQUIRE that all subsequent wells have turnoff
    valves, and should require that all violations provided by workers
    - as was be done in this case - be acted upon.
    2. We should immediately start a program of inspection of
    existing well and require that any deficiencies be cleared up
    EVEN IF it requires money and time to do so.

    The people who work on the rigs are of course outraged.
    But consider the consequences if the there were ANOTHER
    oil well running "loose" within the next year.

    Unfortunately it is necessary to weigh the effects upon
    one group of workers against the effects upon another
    group of workers. The watermen have already taken their
    HIT; it's time that others make a few sacrifices to make sure
    the watermen do not suffer another disaster.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  58. Willie Ringo

    Jack alternative energy and economic development in underdeveloped countries in real time is the answer. Jobs need to be created and demand for American manufacturing to raise the level of GDP of other countries will create jobs at home. If we were as dependent on better living standards of other countries as we were of oil, and we all fell in love with alternative energy and sustainable living, we would have a fighting chance for real change. We did health care, financial reform, and now we need world sustainable economy reform and a strong energy bill that puts millions of jobs on the table. The haves would make more money and the have nots would be less likely to fall in love with groups trying to kill us. Thanks Jack.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  59. Jim M

    A la Kennedy, set a goal of energy independence by 2020. Brazil did it, why can't we?

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  60. s in florida

    Time to move out of Bedrock and onto the Enterprise.The oil industry dodged a bullet to the P&L spreadsheet 30 years ago at the the expense of all Americans. The spill was a disastrous reminder of that mistake. Now it's the American people's turn to get a little TLC. It's a new millenium. Time to legislate as such.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  61. Rob

    Sorry; people forget that BP is the biggest supplier to the US Army; which of course never conserves engergy let alone has efficiency in any equipment let alone Airforce fuel use!!!
    Furthermore Obama will miss out on all the royalties; permit fees; leases of drill areas etc.
    No, certainly everything this government is doing is only to fool the people and claim they are not involved in keeping this dependancy!!!

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  62. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The irony is Jack, it will not affect it at all.

    There is only one reason why we still depend on hydrocarbons 40 years after the oil embargo, and that is the American people are vehemently against changing a way of life.

    Tell any American what size car they must drive, what size house they must buy, how many miles they can drive, make mandatory the insulation and type of lighting in their homes or businesses, and you'll hear a cry so loud it will make your ear drums break.

    We are spoiled, we are misguided in our measure of success, we are not willing to change this "American way of life" to make any difference in energy reduction or climate control. And this is the single reason for cap and trade, to make energy so expensive we must change.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  63. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Hopefully, it should affect the US energy policy a lot. We have the most advanced alternative energy that nobody in the mundane world has ever heard about. I saw examples of it myself, and the only reason I feel that the USA isn't using it is that Big Oil wants to extract as much money as it can before we switch over. We should switch over now & give Big Oil the boot.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  64. Sean

    The answer to this question is simple: the government needs to produce regulations that mandate a reduction of oil consumption. Within a few yeas American businesses would become the global leaders in energy efficient industry. However, the GOP has proven to be shockingly effective at getting their base to believe that climate change is a hoax, oil drilling is safe and that curbing petroleum use would cripple the economy. Until the GOP sees some political incentive in working with Democrats (or the Democrats wake-up and realize how to get the public to see the truth) on this we should continue to expect the same old approach to this issue.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  65. nora

    All the oil drilling done by BP and others does not mean that the oil belongs to the US although drilling is approved by the US. It is put into the worl market and sold to the highest bidder. A lot of the American people believe it belongs to us. That's where changes have to be made so that more comes to the USA..
    For this we give them concessions and tax breaks. If that isn't a lose/lose situation I don't know what is.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  66. Caryl Zook

    We are decades late in planning for energy efficiency and independence. We should establish a solid plan immediately to increase technological research, enact incentives to get sustainable energy options in homes, businesses and government buildings. It would create jobs, invigorate innovation and give direction to youths and the unemployed. Too bad people have to get unemployment compensation for months when they would rather be working in jobs that pay a living wage.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  67. Sharon Collins

    This disaster should shock our citizens and government representatives into realizing that deepwater drlling for oil is not a safe, sensible option, because the risks are far too high. It should be a huge red flag to tell our nation that we have to wean ourselves off oil products, and put a MAJOR focus and effort into develop our clean energy potential. We have had so many disasters in the oil and coal industries this year, and this just focuses our attention on the huge need to develop clean energy. We have to stop relying so much on oil, and shift our thinking to a committment to renewable.energy, which is also absolutely essential for combatting the effects of global warming. Wake up America, let go of destructive old ways, and open your minds to new ways of thinking about energy.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  68. Indiana

    Our dependency on foreign oil is a shame. We have not even scratched the surface of alternative fuels. Maybe Obama should incentivize the production of biofuels and other alternative energy technologies instead of complaining that there is too much drilling. We need to do both drill safely and continue to strive to locate alternatives while insuring effective fail safes in the Gulf are in place. Our security it at stake.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  69. Dariel, Santa Rosa, CA.

    Make it illegal to export any oil from the United states, land or sea.
    That includes all of the foreign wells within our boundries that the US Gov. has given a free ticket to exploit our resources.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  70. Jim Bailey

    Hey there is no oil in my backyard...what's the problem?
    My congressman, a Republican, says ANY change is a socialist plot to destroy America!!!
    The Gulf spill should teach us to focus on all those things we have ignored like solar/ wind/geothermal energy, but it won't because we fat, laxy fools who keep electing the same oil & coal puppets to office..
    Jim Bailey
    Cripple Creek CO

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  71. Larry in KY


    Unfortunately it will likely have little affect. We will all get caught up in the latest political sound byte and then make an emotional vote in November and then again in 2012 that will be based on half truths and influenced by who raises the most money.

    We need to take control and demand the kind of no nonsense laws that will ensure an energy policy is in place that leads to energy independence regardless of which party is in control of congress and the Whitehouse. We are too quick to point fingers and not willing to question what we are being spoon fed in sound bytes by slick politicians who only see success in destroying the opposition. It is our fault that we are where we are. We are sheep too willing to be led to slaughter. Until we get off of the diet of fear mongering, hate mongering and lies on both sides, America is indeen in peril.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  72. Job A. Toussaint

    The worst man-made disaster in our history has obviously been disparaging for the once-thriving Gulf; and with the everyday images of the oil gushing from the well, it has placed distress that will ripple for generations. Today we've witnessed temporary progress with the on-going integrity test, yet the truth-to-the-matter is that our president has to dedicate a great deal of time personally and pass strong legislations that will prevent further fear in order to win back the hearts of the people of the Gulf. As for the democrats, their efforts for progress are countered with nefarious rhetoric and dreams of division, whereas bipartisanship will yielded unity and hope for generations the Gulf and for America entirely.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  73. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Jack Cafferty and CNN friends,

    We Need to go Green(Use Green Energy)
    and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board must keep
    the Audit Quality High, so that Every Audit Check Up
    at Oil companies and other organizations will
    Prevent Future Offshore Drilling Mistakes!

    Jurgen R. Brul

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  74. Tim F

    Jack sorry to say nothing will change. The US population doesn't want to sacrifice for a greater good. Its easier to sit and complain. Of course an energy policy from Washington is the same as hearing the we will end the tax breaks for companies shipping jobs over seas. Its all just talk.................

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  75. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    We are dependent in oil and we are still years away from alternitive energy if we close down our oil wells then we will have no choice but to import at a great cost the majority of Americans can not afford the cost to go green .

    July 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  76. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    We should stop giving half billion dollar grants to big oil and start incentivizing clean energy alternatives.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  77. Pamela - Texas

    It should send a huge shock to the nation and spur on reform, but we live in a country with A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder). We don't have the will to pay enough attention on a problem and follow through to a solution. Politicans rely on this, because they can ignore it and move on to their primary concern – getting re-elected.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  78. David

    What bonehead idiot would want to keep the dictators of the world and Venezuela in money at the expense of the United States forever. Sure we need to begin develope of other resources. It will take years to do this but it is imperative to start now. If you do not care for the so called "Little People" and only ourselves that would be a terrible mistake.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  79. Gigi Oregon

    It's time for a 21st century policy of no oil. And work for a low cost energy nation and independent of other countries.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  80. Veronica

    For two years, 1 and 1/2 million members of the Pickens Plan have been battering down the doors of Congress to get them moving on a permanent energy plan. The legislation we ask for does not cost the taxpayer a single dime, creates millions of jobs that can't be exported, and is far greener than either coal or petroleum. Still, our representatives ignore both the legislation and the very green Pickens Plan. Jack, there is no hard decision; it's easy. Through the bums out if we want a real energy plan.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  81. JOE CE

    It would be the heigth of irresponsibility to allow further drilling in the Gulf before we fully evaluate the failed safety procedures and can design a procedure with 99% safety. As for the people who will lose jobs, the oil will rn out in less than 50 years and they better start transiting to other employment. Of course there are over a thousand abandon wells that need to be checked for security and over 3 thousand wells that were sited for safety violation before the disaster. Put the people displaced by the moratorium on correcting these deficiencies – there is easily a years work there. Meanwhile we need to start some projects for wind (the Gulf looks promising), solar, geothermal, nuclear, natural gas, and clean coal.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  82. Judy - California

    It's the slap up side the head we needed to wake us up. How absurd these politicians sound to me when they apologize to the oil company responsible for destroying our environment. Something has to curb our dependence on oil, foreign or domestic no matter what the discomfort level. I wish I could bathe the oil company execs and the members of congress who support them with the oil that has destroyed our wetlands and wildlife. The effects of this are so far reaching, I cannot imagine what our future holds if something isn't done soon to reduce our dependence.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  83. Vaughn Coburn - Warner NH

    One would hope this tragedy would open the eyes of those inside the beltway to forget about that energy bill on the table, and create an energy policy that would be used to make all legislative and administrative decisions related to energy. I'll make it simple for them, since simple is implementable: "Clean energy Now, Renewable energy asap". Based on this policy, the answer to 'encourage off-shore drilling' is NO, 'keep subsidies to oil companies' is NO; provide $20 billion to utilities for carbon capture is NO; provide $20 billion to utililties to build thorium reactors with the technology being held in government research labs is YES.

    See... anyone can do this with the right policy.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  84. frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    WE need to stop deep water drilling and really go after the people who register their rigs in the Marshall Islands because they don't want to do a Coast Guard Inspection.

    All rigs in the Gulf in US drilling leases should be certified by the US Coast Guard and only the US Coast Guard. Period.

    Certificates for deep drilling that are boiler plate should be rejected, and the company should be prosecuted for falsifying a government document. Can we say 'walruses'?

    these clowns can afford it. There is a new sheriff in town, or should be.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  85. melissa fort myers,fl

    There is no disaster large enough to change our policies when money and politics remain involved. This will pass and be forgotten as everything else has. Even when the effects of this oil pollution begin to show in the deformed and cancerous fish and mammals that will soon populate the Gulf, our country has a great ability to turn it's attention to the next big "thing". The fishermen left behind will be the only ones still bearing the burden-just like in Alaska.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  86. Ted

    We should dramatically increase funding for serious research into alternative energy. We should use institutions like the National Science Foundation to award sizable research grants to individuals, universities and private businesses with innovative ideas and new ways to produce renewable clean energy substantially cheaper. China has now outpaced the US in spending on alternative energy research. The country that develops the smartest, greenest, cheapest and cleanest way to produce energy will be the leader in the future. Our energy policy needs to look towards the future. If not to avoid oil spills and dependence on the middle east, then for the environment, the climate, democratic advancement and social development in oil rich countries, and to insure that we can provide for the needs of today without sacrificing the needs of tomorrow.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  87. Bill Prodenchuk

    I was expecting Barack Obama to make a speech about an energy policy at the inauguration , as dramatic as John Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon. He had a opportunity to send your country to the top again, disappointed in Canada. Maybe it’s not to late.

    Ottawa Canada

    July 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  88. Sue in Houston, TX

    Jack, over seventy percent of countries around the world have nationalized their strategic resource. Let's join the rest of the world, and let profits go to our government(s) and the states most at risk of spills and mishaps. Sue in Houston, TX

    July 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  89. Chip

    The American government needs to have more control over what happens in big business, we have lost checks and balances completely. We have become a country of catering to the rich and neglect everybody else. America needs to solve this problem with the mess in the gulf and make BP clean it up. The public should not have to come up with donations. BP needs to fix this and America needs to make BP do it. America must grasp alternative energies whole heartedly instead of trying to wait until the rich capture the market. We need to do this as if it is an emergency act.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  90. Kristine Rizzuto

    Mr. Cafferty,
    First, let me say, I live in Bell Chasse, Louisiana. Plaquemines Parish. I have a few ideas that I think could both protect the economy and people of south Louisiana, and prove to the world that one city at a time, we CAN end our dependency on oil.

    1) Allow drilling only AFTER a clear Clean Up and Response plan has been established

    2) Pump the region full of grants to open "clean energy" businesses. Encourage the growth of ethanol stations.

    3) Grants to fisherman, and commercial ships that use ethanol

    4) Branding and advertising of all seafood caught using clean fuel

    5) Flood the affected Parishes with funds to restore our coast line. HIRE LOCALS!!!

    6) Triple the size and funding of NAS-JRB.

    7) Launch a new Navy branch that is to deep water what NASA was to space. Hire the best and the brightest.

    I don't know, just my opinion?

    July 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  91. Jane Johnsen

    What people don't understand is that Solar and Wind could only produce (when at maximum) 2-3% of USA needs. That's why it has been TALKED about forever.
    We need to remove all career politicians and bring in ex military people, business people, etc. who know how to manage and intellectually handle matters as a CEO. Mr. Obama is not qualified as is apparent to most Americans. Obama is a member of the far left liberals which entail only 18% of AMericans – thus he is making Americans irrate !
    Todays Polls who any Republican that ran against Obama today would win against him...and that won't change as AMericans have made up their minds....those who pay taxes that is.
    Jane J

    July 15, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  92. Tod Policandriotes

    It should turn heads enough to make the investment into new energy sources, but alas the masses are ignorant and the individual is knowledgeable as usual. My goal remains the same, research, research, research until one day soon "wallah, I found it". Then we can all say goodbye to oil as a fuel.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  93. Tom from Olean NY


    Sooner or later by choice or necessity we will begin to reduce our dependency on oil. Until then we should move full speed ahead to allow drilling where it is currently banned but where our technology is capable of take care of any spills and ban deepwater drilling until there is proven technology to deal with any incident at these depths.

    Hopefully if we work together, put politics aside and do what’s right for our children and grandchildren we can develop renewable energy to meet our needs and protect our environment at the same time.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  94. Emil Vulkov

    USA are behind the European Union in ecological policies in it's economy. Now is the time to start changing – wasn't that the slogan of the current administration? Get green, advance electric and hydrogen technologies and start leading the world.
    It's not simple, it will cost a lot of money, but it's worth it.
    The world is ruled by only one law – the cause and effect law.
    What is good produces good. What is not – well, the whole world sees what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  95. Phyllis G Williams

    You never know, the Gulf disaster may be a lesson to America to stop leaning on others to do what we could be doing ourselves

    July 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  96. Nat Strafaci

    By offering incentives and investments for individuals and new Businesses to develop zero carbon energy production. When they do I will finally be able to develop and produce the two that I have been carrying around for over 35 years.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  97. Lyn

    Let's try Nuclear energy, Solar power, Clean coal, and anything that pertains to clean energy.
    Let the Republicans whine while they are wanting to drill baby drill for their oil Barons, as they are their bosses. They watched the oil pouring out and said we should keep drilling, while apologizing to BP.
    Some people of Louisanna are still wanting BP to stay.
    I do not understand how they and the Republicans can want to keep ruinning God's great earth like that.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  98. martin from bakersfield

    The reign of oil as our principal source of energy should be reaching it's end. We've had over 100 years to develop other sources of energy to the point where older technologies would be (forcefully) phased out and the newer progressive ones phased in. If we have not gotten to the point where we could phase out oil as an energy source, I would go as far as to question the actual level of intellegence of the human race.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  99. chris brown

    for years we have been held hostage by big oil .we have all heard the stories of suppressed technology .and i don't believe that any Americans think the oil shortage of the 70s was true .we are taxed heavily for smoking to make people quit so why not take money from big oil to to develop alternative energy and cars .they talk about jobs i believe that more jobs would be created than lost and a whole less animals.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  100. paul

    With 3700 under water wells (600 of which are BP's) offshore drilling should be suspended for new wells until a real federal regulation can be put in place. Any permits previously issued for wells not yet started should be suspended. President Cowboy provided pampering regulation through the MMS; he owns responsibilty for our current situation with off shre drilling. Yes I am a Floridian and Independent.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  101. Lars from Honey Brook, PA

    Drilling for oil is necessary I believe, to maintain the jobs of hard working americans involved in the oil industry. But america should start paving the way for greener energy, such as solar panels, natural gas, and electricity. We cannot continue to rely on oil as our main source of energy, and we cant ignore what happened in the gulf. So what will be done? The time is now to start converting

    July 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  102. Travis from Beaverton, OR

    I personally believe that we need to start the process of rehabilitation away from fossil fuels, but it should be a trickle down process (no pun intended). We should continue drilling for the short term as part of a 20-30 year plan to cut ourselves off of the need for refined petroleum products. This gives our nation time to retool, retrain, and relearn how to harness other forces on this planet. Wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen fuel cells, the list goes on, these are the power sources we need to embrace if we're going to leave a planet worth living on for our descendants decades from now.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  103. Jon Youngblood - Portland, OR

    This is not a government policy issue, this is a personal one. Jack, I don’t think denial is quite the right word; indifference would probably be more accurate. For the last five years my partner and I have ran a Light Electric Vehicle company here in Portland Oregon, which is supposed to be so green. While we still survive, by restricting our products and services, what we have found, both for ourselves and in watching other similar, even larger, companies come and go here, is that it’s not so much denial as it is refusal: it is an American’s God given the right to King and Queen around town with 200 plus horses in front of them. It is about comfort, convenience, and status. End of discussion. And while we’re at it, may I ask what you and Wolf drive home at the end of the day? We have only ourselves to blame for all of this mess, and it’s well past time to stop passing the blame, and start passing the word: there are alternatives! Those are fully electric and can cover 95% of our transportation requirements. Or keep lying about how much we supposedly love our children. Energy policy begins at home.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  104. Ferdi

    The USA has been the polluter of the world over many decades.
    The greed and total introspectiveness of the US is ear deafening.
    Sorry for the Gulf (and earth) but it's a lesson too late for the US.
    Although I have no hope that the US will lead the world to a lasting solution from fossil fuels, I can only hope that this disaster will somehow contribute to see that profit, gain and greed are all relative!
    (think global warming, financial crisis, war etc).

    July 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm |