You have to appreciate the irony at the start of this article. Democrats have mocked Sarah Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill.” But is their increasingly loud wail to Obama – “Do something, baby, do something” – somehow supposed to be better?
Where was plan A?
By KIRSTEN POWERS
Last Updated: 9:58 AM, May 27, 2010
Do something, baby, do something: That’s the cry from Obama supporters and opponents alike as the oil keeps gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
The political firestorm kept growing yesterday, with supporter James Carville ranting that the administration has been “lackadaisical” and “naive” in its response to the disaster. He urged it to rapidly “move to Plan B.”
But that suggests there was ever a Plan A.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is so frustrated with the lack of response to his plan to stop the slick with sand barriers that yesterday he called on the White House and BP to either “stop the oil spill or get out of the way.”
“Plug the damn hole,” President Obama reportedly barked at staffers in frustration after the explosion. That’s right up there with “Heckuva job, Brownie” in terms of clueless statements uttered by presidents in the midst of nationally televised disasters.
Meanwhile, White House regret over Obama’s politically expedient embrace of the “Drill, baby, drill” trope is growing faster than the vast oil slick.
Back on March 31, Obama announced — to the horror of many of his supporters — that he was expanding offshore drilling along the coastlines of the south and mid-Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico. Worse, he painted a (too) rosy scenario of offshore drilling being eminently safe.
True, it is rare that a full-blown environmental catastrophe results from an offshore oil well. But it can happen — and a Democratic president who’s embracing drilling ought to know the risks, and be prepared for the worst. But rather than planning for a spill, Obama parroted McCain-Palin talking points about how safe offshore drilling is.
Turns out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration back in 1994 drafted plans for responding to a major Gulf oil spill, a response called “In-Situ Burn.”
Ron Gourget, a former federal oil-spill-response coordinator and one author of the draft, told the Times of London: “The whole reason the plan was created was so that we could pull the trigger right away.” The idea was to use barriers called “fire booms” to collect and contain the spill at sea — then burn it off. He believes this could have captured 95 percent of the oil from this spill.
But at the time of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the federal government didn’t have a single fire boom on hand. Nor is there any evidence that the government required BP to have any clear plan to deal with a massive spill. How is this OK?
The administration’s chief response so far was to send out Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to do his best impersonation of a totalitarian thug, proclaiming that the government would “have its boot on the throat of BP.”
(Fun fact: While in the Senate, Salazar backed an increase in oil and gas leases in the Gulf Coast region by promoting and voting for the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.)
Since the “blame BP” strategy isn’t working, Obama will today announce tougher safety requirements and more rigorous inspections for offshore drilling operations. Sounds nice — except the problem isn’t a lack of safety requirements, it’s that the experts at the US Minerals Management Service ignored the existing requirements.
In fact, it was under Salazar’s reign that the MMS approved BP’s drilling without getting the permits required by law for drilling that might harm endangered species. The agency routinely overruled warnings regarding the safety and environmental impact of drilling proposals in the Gulf.
None of this was a secret.
It also shouldn’t be a secret that no matter how many inspections and safety requirements you have, you can’t ever completely prevent disasters like this one. If you’re going to permit offshore drilling, be prepared to respond to a spill.
If he promised us anything, Obama promised us competence. Instead, we’ve gotten the Keystone Cops.
Ah, competence. One day after Obama is gone, we might actually have some of that in the White House.
Obama is bringing his incompetence everywhere he goes, rather like the travelling salesman with the unfortunate body odor that exudes out of every pour brings stink with him everywhere he goes.
What was it about being a community organizer that prepared him to actually lead anything constructive?
It’s not right to say that Obama has been doing everything the federal government could do; no, he ignored the very first thing that the federal government already had as policy to do in the event of a disaster like this – and has done absolutely nothing else in its place. Oil that could have been contained and burned off is instead murdering all of the pelicans on the coast. And, instead of helping Louisiana do everything it could to keep that oil off its coasts and marshes, Obama’s federal government has massively screwed up on that side of the coin, too. Governor Jindal demanded 24 temporary sand berms to act as a barrier between the coast and the oil; first the federal government said it had to dot every i and cross every t with endless environmental studies before it would authorize any such construction; then the government said it would only permit six berms, and would only actually pay for just one berm. And now the oil is all over the place and its too damn late for much of anything but to scrub oil from the few pelicans that might survive.
Instead, what Zero did was ZERO. Instead of actually working to resolve he problem, Obama has handled this like a campaign issue. He handed all the responsibility over to British Petroleum while simultaneously saying he was responsible. It has all been about words rather than action.
Bobby Jindal has called upon Obama to “either “stop the oil spill or get out of the way.” And of course Obama won’t do either. His government is worse than useless, because it is getting in the way of actual efforts by Louisiana to DO SOMETHING.
So here’s what we’re facing now under the failed regime of our Turd-in-Chief:
“In Revelations, it says the water will turn to blood. That’s what it looks like out here — like the Gulf is bleeding,” said P.J. Hahn, director of coastal zone management for Plaquemines Parish as he kneeled down to take a picture of an oil-coated feather. “This is going to choke the life out of everything.” [...]
Eugene, 54, who has worked for decades in a shipyard, said he was growing tired of the government’s response.
“He ain’t much of a leader,” he said of Obama. “The beach you can clean up. The marsh you can’t. Where’s the leadership. I want to hear what’s being done. We’re going to lose everything.” [...]
Newly disclosed internal Coast Guard documents from the day after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig indicated that U.S. officials were warning of a leak of 336,000 gallons per day of crude from the well in the event of a complete blowout.
The volume turned out to be much closer to that figure than the 42,000 gallons per day that BP first estimated. Weeks later it was revised to 210,000 gallons. Now, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million gallons of crude is believed to be leaking daily.
“He ain’t much of a leader.” You got that right. I was screaming that from the rooftops two years and change ago.
Do we have good information? No, everything keeps turning out to be wrong – and always much for the worse. Is anything getting done? No. Just one failed plan after another. Having never bothered to implement the plan we’ve had since 1994 for a disaster like this.
Now we’re being told that the latest “fix” is capturing about 42,000 gallons of oil a day. Which might sound impressive until you realize that it’s leaking a MILLION gallons a day.
And we’re looking at the very real possibility that we’re going to continue to see a massive disaster get more massive every single day until Christmas.
The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is rather like the Obama administration itself: there’s just no end to this disaster, and all we have instead of solutions is a constant stream of misinformation and excuses.
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