Via Ace, five minutes of pure frustration that’s rapidly turning bipartisan. For instance, who said this yesterday of the White House’s response?
They are risking everything by this “go along with BP” strategy they have that seems like, lackadaisical on this. They seem like they’re inconvenienced by this, this is some giant thing getting in their way and somehow or another, if you let BP handle it, it’ll all go away. It’s not going away. It’s growing out there. It is a disaster of the first magnitude, and they’ve got to go to Plan B.
Answer here. Not only are environmental waivers still being granted for new drilling projects, but at today’s White House press briefing, the Coast Guard’s commandant admitted that even if the feds took control of capping the well from BP, there’s no reason to think they’d do a better job. Direct quote: “To push BP out of the way would raise the question, replace them with what?” More from Tapper:
The federal government could commander control of the entire operation, though they would likely need to rely upon BP’s equipment and personnel, and assuming control of the effort could open the government up to cost and liability issues…
Moreover, there have been contradictions from members of the administration. While Secretary Salazar has continually talked about keeping “the boot on the neck of British Petroleum to carry out the responsibilities that they have” to stop the spill, Admiral Allen seemed to indicate he didn’t have much of an issue with BP…
On May 2, Gov. Jindal requested that federal authorities and BP provide three million feet of absorbent boom, five million feet of hard boom and 30 ‘jack up’ barges. Of that, less than 800,000 feet of hard boom has arrived – less than a fifth of the request. About 140,000 feet of that hard boom is sitting waiting for BP to tell contractors where to take it.
“It is clear we don’t have the resources we need to protect our coast, we need more boom, more skimmers, more vacuums, more jack-up barges that are still in short supply,” Jindal said today. “Let’s be clear, every day that this oil sits is one more day that more of our marsh dies.”
Ace wonders why Obama didn’t have some sort of containment plan already in place in the event of a spill, a question I’ve asked before vis-a-vis the political risk he took with his base in coming out in favor of drilling a few months ago. You would think stricter environmental regulations would be the first order of business for him in order to get the left off his back, but no. The only explanation I can come up with is that, like all presidents, there are certain policy areas that The One is really interested in (e.g., health care) and certain others that he pretty clearly doesn’t care much about and will deal with by doing whatever’s politically expedient (e.g., gay marriage). This seems to be a category two issue. He’s largely indifferent towards drilling, I suspect, but decided to support it as a compromise in hopes of winning some GOP votes on the energy bill and figured that it would soon go away. Oops.
Well, look on the bright side: If nothing else good comes from this disaster, at least now we have a roughly quantifiable sense of how long it takes for media outrage to build towards Obama versus towards Bush. Figure Dubya would have been under fire for dragging his feet on the spill after, what — maybe three days? It’s now 34 days since BP’s rig exploded and only yesterday did frustration really start bubbling on the Sunday chat shows.