Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hussein Obama Slips Up On Oil Spill Panel

This is a brilliant article below by Henry I. Miller. As so many Liberals are out screaming for more Government regulation, this article is counter point to the sicko Left Wing Nazis. I have heard this Oil Spill is V.P. Cheney's fault? I have heard left Wing Radicals blame President Bush also. Could it be Barry Sotero's fault? Or the environmental Nazi's fault for pushing to have Drilling so far off the Coast?
I guess we should not expect Barry to be too involved with the Oil Spill clean-up as he has to hold parties for Commie Paul McCarthy. I still have not forgotten Beetle Paul McCarthy was trying to push his No-MEAT RELIGION on England. What would happen if Sarah Palin or George Bush pressed for a religious holiday?
C'mon Commie Paul McCarthy was conned by a one-legged Hooker and we are supposed to listen to him?

I dislike President Obama's style and substance. A whiner and left-wing ideologue, he is remarkably slow-witted when out of range of speechwriters and teleprompters. I'll say one thing for him, though: He brings a sense of irony to government.

The latest example is the incomprehensible choice of William Reilly, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to co-chair the presidential commission to investigate the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

During Reilly's tenure, the EPA implemented policies that prevented the development of a high-tech method to mitigate the effects of the oil washing onto the magnificent beaches along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida.

During the 1980s microorganisms genetically engineered to feed on spilled oil were developed in laboratories, but draconian federal regulations discouraged their testing and commercialization and ensured that the techniques available for responding to these disasters remain low-tech and marginally effective.

They include methods such as deploying booms to contain the oil, spraying chemicals to disperse it, burning it and spreading absorbent mats.

At the time of the catastrophic 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, there were great expectations for modern biotechnology applied to "bioremediation," the biological cleanup of toxic wastes, including oil. Reilly, who at that time headed the EPA, later recalled:

"When I saw the full scale of the disaster in Prince William Sound in Alaska ... my first thought was: Where are the exotic new technologies, the products of genetic engineering, that can help us clean this up?"

Reilly should have known: Innovation had been stymied by his agency's hostile policies toward the most sophisticated new genetic engineering techniques. The regulations ensured that biotech researchers in several industrial sectors, including bioremediation, would continue to be intimidated and inhibited by regulatory barriers. Those policies remain in place today, and the EPA's anti-technology zealots show no signs of changing them.

The best way to prevent such accidents is, of course, to obtain energy from sources other than fuel oil. Bio-fuels have been widely touted as a possibility, but solutions to technical difficulties, such as breaking down plant materials so that they can be metabolized into ethanol, have thus far eluded scientists.

Ironically, EPA regulation has also inhibited the development of the genetically engineered bacteria and fungi that are needed. Thus, EPA's policies have for decades stymied safe energy production in two ways: (1) by preventing innovation applied to industrial processes that could produce biofuel, and (2) by obstructing the development and commercialization of oil-eating organisms that could be used in a spill.

Characteristically, the EPA didn't let science get in the way of policy. Its regulation focuses on any "new" organism (strangely and unscientifically defined as one which contains combinations of DNA from unrelated sources) that might, for example, literally eat up oil spills.

For the EPA, then and now, "newness" is synonymous with risk, and because genetic engineering techniques can easily be used to create new gene combinations with DNA from disparate sources, these techniques therefore "have the greatest potential to pose risks to people or the environment," according to the agency press release that accompanied the rule.

But science says otherwise. The genetic technique employed to construct new strains is irrelevant to risk, as is the origin of a snippet of DNA that may be moved from one organism to another: What matters is its function. Scientific principles and common sense dictate which questions are central to risk analysis for any new organism:

How hazardous is the organism you started with? Is it a harmless, ubiquitous organism found in garden soil, or one that causes illness in humans or animals? Does the genetic change merely make the organism able to metabolize and degrade oil more efficiently, or does it have other effects, such as making it hardier and more resistant to antibiotics and therefore difficult to control?

The EPA ignored the widely held scientific consensus that holds that modern genetic engineering technology is essentially an extension, or refinement, of earlier, cruder techniques of genetic modification. In fact, the U.S. National Research Council observed in 1989 that the use of the newest genetic engineering techniques actually lowers the already minimal risk associated with field testing.

The reason is that the new technology makes it possible to introduce pieces of DNA that contain one or a few well-characterized genes, in contrast with older genetic techniques that transfer or modify a variable number of genes haphazardly. All of this means that users of the new techniques can be more certain about the traits they introduce into the organisms.

The bottom line is that organisms crafted with the newest, most sophisticated and precise genetic techniques are subject to discriminatory, extraordinary regulation. Research proposals for field trials must be reviewed repeatedly case by case, and companies face uncertainty about final commercial approvals of products down the road even if they prove safe and effective.

Government policymakers seem oblivious to the power of regulatory roadblocks to impair resilience. Experiments using genetically engineered organisms confront massive red tape and politics and require vast expense. The costs and uncertainty of performing this R&D have virtually eliminated them as a tool to clean up oil spills and other pollution.

While he headed the EPA, Reilly was one of those know-nothing policymakers. Obama's tapping him to investigate the Gulf oil spill exemplifies what Newsweek and Washington Post contributing editor Robert Samuelson has called a "parody of leadership."

• Miller is a physician and molecular biologist and a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. His most recent book is "The Frankenfood Myth."

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