In Deep Water: The Anatomy of a Disaster, the Fate of the Gulf, and How to End Our Oil Addiction [review]
How is it that months-old health care reform, tagged “Obamacare” among the GOP, became a topic of concern when neither Democrats nor Republicans would talk about accountability for the largest environmental disaster in history?
With In Deep Water: The Anatomy of a Disaster, the Fate of the Gulf, and How to End Our Oil Addiction (The Experiment, 2010), authors Peter Lehner and Bob Deans look to give context to what has happened, environmentally, economically and politically. Their book is a needed salvo in talking about the disaster, whose effects are still being felt as conservative free-market activists wage a war of ideas in its aftermath.
In Deep Water, whose royalties will go to Natural Resources Defense Council cleanup efforts in the Gulf Coast, imparts what are at various points excruciating stories, but also infuriating ones. Industry obfuscation that resulted in more damage to the region is hardly singular in this case. Lehner and Deans present analysis of media reports, audit documents and eyewitness accounts to paint a comprehensive picture that conveys the magnitude of the disaster. The authors further deliver proposals for accountability as well as how to prevent another tragedy such as what happened in the Gulf of Mexico.
However, what you might expect — a Republican thrashing — is less here than one in which key figures in both parties rolled over for the oil and gas industry. Though political villains like Dick Cheney are excoriated for currying oil barons’ favor under the pretext of post-9/11 energy security, cozy Congressional relationships are investigated too. North American oil addiction is also explored. The roosting of the chickens of greed, waste and consumption comes in the form of devastated wetlands, loss of wildlife and destroyed economies. Yet such are apparently treated as collateral damage in a fight that is ultimately partisan and political, as the corporate friendly pitch the working class to their doom for a presumably greater good.
While unlikely to win over Tea Party Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, In Deep Water deserves a broader audience and recognition for the willingness of Lehner and Deans to put out a vision where others might be more content to simply criticize.
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