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Social nets wrap: Politicians' take on water -- and energy -- on Cousteau's 100th anniversary

June 11, 2010 |  1:16 pm


On the 100th anniversary of the birth of pioneering ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, a raft of politicians are happily hopping on board his legacy to float their own boats.

Two days after the House voted, 354-0, to pass the Cousteau Resolution honoring the Frenchman widely believed to have fomented the environmental movement in the U.S. with his long-running ABC series, Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) has penned an opinion piece with Cousteau's grandson calling for a change in America's energy policy.

Honda tweets: My OpEd w/Fabien Cousteau on the #oilspill: We must learn from the worst envtl disaster in history

He writes with Fabien Cousteau: "With an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 gallons of oil spewing daily, devastating the Gulf’s ecosystem and its marine mammals, sea birds, fish, shellfish and sea life stocks for generations to come, we have ample reason to radically transform the way we use energy and environmental resources."

Honda, a member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, then cites the usual arguments against oil dependence including safety, stability of supply and reliance on foreign countries while advocating use of wind and solar power and construction of a new energy grid.

Republicans, meanwhile, charge ...

... that the Democrats -- and President Obama -- are using the oil spill to achieve their own policy ends, which Democrats routinely deny while, um, advancing their own policy goals of an alternative energy system.  Following accusations -- from Sarah Palin among others -- that Obama has not discussed the oil spill with BP's top executives, news comes today that those same executives are set to meet with the administration.

On Thursday, a resolution from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers to regulate carbon emissions failed to pass a floor vote.

Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen  (R-Fla.), who introduced the Cousteau resolution with 13 co-sponsors, on Friday uploaded a video of herself talking about her resolution (which has since been mysteriously "removed by user" and replaced with one of her speaking about the BP oil spill).

Cousteau was born June 11, 1910, in Saint Andre de Cubzac and made his name as an expert on all things ocean-related with the 1956 release of documentary "The Silent World"  to worldwide acclaim (and an Oscar nod). President Reagan awarded Cousteau, who invented the aqualung, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Cousteau died in 1997.

Cousteau's foundation welcomed the resolution with the words: "In the spirit of this Resolution, the Cousteau Society supports all those elected officials in America and elsewhere who help make possible the emergence of clean and safe energies."

A movement to save Cousteau's famous ship, The Calypso, from a watery grave recently has gained momentum, and it was relaunched for the anniversary.

"The Calypso is, in its way, the Eiffel Tower of the oceans," said Francine Cousteau, the explorer's former wife. "I feel a duty to restore its soul ... so it can be an ambassador of the environment in the years to come."

-- Craig Howie

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Photo: Associated Press.