Pop quiz, hotshot: Florida has just been hit by a category 3 hurricane. An oil tanker larger than the Exxon Valdez has suffered damage and threatens to leak its cargo. You’ve been advised of three options: 1) sink the ship and hope that the cold waters will congeal the oil, 2) bring the ship to port in Florida, or 3) direct the ship to another state that is not currently recovering from a disaster.
Of course, each option has its downsides: 1) The oil could congeal, or it could leak and cause a catastrophe along the entire eastern seaboard. If the plan does work, the tanker will probably eventually rust, leak and become a problem for future generations. 2) While Florida is the closet port, it doesn’t need another disaster to deal with if an oil spill occurs. 3) While demonstrating sympathy for Floridians, you’re putting more people at risk as the chance of a spill increases as the ship travels further from its current location.
What do you do?
If you’re Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis), the first female president on ABC’s Commander In Chief, you make the tough call and go with option two to minimize risk. But the Prez’s nemesis, the Speaker of the House (Donald Sutherland), a Republican representing the state of Florida, teams up with the governor (and environmental groups!) to block the ship from coming to port. What ensues is a case of states’ rights versus federal interests that highlights the risks associated with an oil-dependent economy. The Clean Water Act gets a mention as well.
I smell an Environmental Media Award nomination.
And for a second, I thought John Passacantando would have a cameo role, when the president was informed that the Greenpeace leadership was on the phone. Sadly, no John.