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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, April 30, 2010

Obama On Federal Response to Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

Thanks to an explosion at an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico ten days ago, the Gulf Coast has been ravaged by 168,000 gallons of oil per day. But Obama waited until yesterday to respond. Below is a statement he just made from the Rose Garden:

I have dispatched the Secretaries of Interior and Homeland Security, as well as the Administrator of the EPA, my Assistant for Energy and Climate Change Policy, and the NOAA Administrator to the Gulf Coast to ensure that we continue to do everything necessary to respond to this event. And I expect their reports from the ground today.

As I said yesterday, BP is ultimately responsible under the law for paying the costs of response and cleanup operations, but we are fully prepared to meet our responsibilities to any and all affected communities. And that’s why we’ve been working closely with state and local authorities since the day of the explosion.

There are now five staging areas to protect sensitive shorelines; approximately 1,900federal response personnel are in the area; and more than 300 response vessels and aircraft on the scene 24/7. We've also laid approximately 217,000 feet of protective boom, and there are more on the way.

I've order Secretary Salazar to conduct a thorough review of this incident and report back to me in 30 days on what, if any, additional precautions and technologies should be required to prevent accidents like this from happening again. And we're going to make sure that any leases going forward have those safeguards. We've also dispatched teams to the Gulf to inspect all deepwater rigs and platforms to address safety concerns.

So, let me be clear. I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security, but I've always said it must be done responsibly, for the safety of our workers and our environment. The local economies and livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast as well as the ecology of the region are at stake. And we're going to continue to update the American people on the situation in the Gulf going forward.


Guy Williams said...

Bernie,I know its a lot of work but heres your chance.Go into your archives and pull up all the Drill,Baby,Drill debates and comments. Should make for some lively discussion and a good insite into how people think.

Jon Geeting said...

The Obama administration has been coordinating a wide-ranging federal responseall along. This is a perfect example of the widespreadepistemic closureamong rank-and-file conservatives. Since Bernie turns to the Washington Times and Wall Street Journal editorial page as credible sources of information, it's not at all surprising that he's constantly out of his depth writing about national policy issues.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone actually believe that there is a contingency plan to cover the leaking of 170,000 gallons of crude oil, directly into the ocean because the oil rig exploded?

You can say "they should have a plan" all day long, but there is no plan for something like this.

Further proof that we need to get away from oil.


Anonymous said...

...just like there was no plan to deal with a scenario where crazed arabs take over airliners in flight and crash them into tall buildings.

Anonymous said...

Obama was all for drilling baby drilling just a couple of weeks ago.

Also, this type of explosion is apparently quite unusual. The federal response is massive and involves law enforcement and military.

Does anyone else who's not usually a conspiracy theorist suspect there's more to this?

Katie Bee said...

You know, with this sudden outpouring of news stories about people dying trying to get fossil fuels and communities being ruined by the damages, I am wondering why people ever think they're a good idea at all. Dependence on oil, domestically produced or not, is a sincere threat to our national security, public health, and children's futures and should be addressed as such.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Geeting,

I use a wide variety of sources, both liberal and conservative, for my posts. Only rarely do I refer to the Washington Times, although I think that paper is under-rated even if it is conservative. I do refer to the WSJ and NYT frequently bc they are both excellent papers.

In this case, my souces were the Wahington Times and an Obama news release from the Rose Garden.
What Obama himself makes clear is that he pretty much waited until yestrday to deal w/ an oil spill that is now 10 days old.

This is no Katrina, but it's an indication that he is trying to do so much that, in the end, nothing will be accomplished. It is even more unfortunate that a mild criticism like this is construed as some kind of attack.

Obama is a human being. He is going to make mistakes. He has made plenty already. But unfortunately, people like you will try to shout down the mildest criticism, even when it is factually accurate.

This dishonesty leads to bad government. You can see it pretty clearly in A-town, where criticism is not permitted.

I'm surprised you didn't call me a racist.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Katie Bee,

You are right, but we are an oil-based economy. This is what I think. Suddenly turning off the pumps would plunge us ito a world-wide depresssion the likes of which would make the Great Depression look like a church picnic. I suspect we'd be at war as well.

I agree we need to make the change and have advocated that for years. But it's got to be gradual. That cap-and=-trade is a disaster that will just hurt the poor, who are most impacted by rising energy costs.

Anonymous said...

bernie, do you really think obama did nothing until today? do you really think bush did nothing until he flew over new orleans?

they didn't say anything until well after the fact, but the coast guard was on the scene last weekend, if not sooner. don't they require directive from the president to swing into action? didn't fema require directive from the president to start moving supplies into new orleans for katrina.

we make pronouncements by what we read in the newspapers, as if newspapers have access to what is going on in all instances. in this case, and in katrina, i doubt they have anything resembling a full picture of what is going on. since you are a consumer of these newspapers (which are obviously one step removed, making you at least two steps removed), it's worth considering.

The only way we can truly know what is going on in gov't is if we get press releases on each matter. Frankly, government by press release is just as dangerous as gov't by secrecy: in both instances, you have to worry about what is unsaid.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fair point.

Anonymous said...

Thes are Red states: "Drill, Baby, DrilL!" and "Less Government" is all we hear from them. Let them deal with. They can fight the spill back with their guns.

Anonymous said...

Jon, if you actually read the Washington Post article you'll see that an awful lot of 'government responses' are happening now, not 10 days ago.

This is Obama's Hurricane Katrina, and his response was just as poor as Bush's.

It's ok to admit when your guy screws up. It's liberating actually.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Katrina comparisons: at least with he current screw-up in the White House it's politically incorrect to utter, "Brownie, your doing a heck of a job."

Anonymous said...

Am I a racist if I LOL'd at that?

Anonymous said...

The problem with this particular incident is becasue the well is about 1 mile deep and therefore inacessible for capping. We are drilling in deep water becasue we cannot drill on the continental shelf our regulatins frobid that(like China is doing off our coast). It is more manageable at shallower depths and for that matter, there would have been fewer consequences if it had been in ALaska(which we can't do by regulatin) instead of prime fishing waters.

By the way we have not had an incident on a rig since the early 70's.

Not goodand a disaster for sure. there should have been failsafe mechanisms in place but I hate to think that we need to shut down our oil industry, as well as that filthy coal they want to close down.

If e want energy, we need to take a few risks.

Anonymous said...

The Obama administation has nothing to do with the timing or level of response. For that matter it would not have mattered if a republican or a democrat is in office. For a discharge of this magnitude a SONS (spill of national significance) the amount of discharged oil has to reach a certain amount before any administration could act on a grand scale. Believe me when I tell you that the no one could have imagined that this amount could have ever be reached again, since the exxon valdez incident. Besides the response timing and level falls oweness to the responsibile party, which in this case is BP. BP is liable and thus if the response is not adequate then the federal gov't assumes assumption of the response using tax payer dollars.

Anonymous said...

Katie Bee,

An even larger threat to our children is the federal government imposing restrictions on the exploitation of available domestic energy resources.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if deregulation of the oil industry resulted in lax fail safe mechanism that could have limited this massive release. I heard it from one source already. If that is a case, how many examples do Americans need?

Anonymous said...

Yes, let us punish the greedy oil companies and allow the government to regulate, dictate, and control energy production. I have every confidence they can do the job better than private industry.

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Oh Please. Stop trying to scare the people. Give up the death panels. Give up the birth certificate. After 8 years of destructive policy, we have seen what the GOP has to offer. Turning an $850B surplus into a $7 trillion dollar deficit under GOP reign is not something these County needs to go back to. Do the math. That is just under 1 trillion per year we lost under the GOP.

Hi Katie. Personally, I am not opposed to domestic drilling so long as we take every effort available to make it environmentally safe. However when you hear Palin and others suggest we need to drill because our National security depends on it, they will never commit that same domestic oil exclusively for US interest. Now why is that?

Anonymous said...

This clearly was an "inside job" just as 9/11 was. Just another reason to jack up the price of oil.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

If it wasn't so tragic, the reaction to the federal response would be humorous.

BP wants no part of government when it's exploring and drilling. It fights for less regulation to hasten their exploration and production. But as soon as something like this happens, who is running back to the government asking for taxpayer funds to clean up their giant mess.

BP should have contingency plans. BP should build in double and triple protection against this happening. They build on the cheap, free of regulation.

And Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi who spit in Obama's face when contemplating rejecting the Stimulus as socialist blood money. Now Barbour and Alabama will come groveling to The Government asking to be bailed out from the sludge that is about to smother their beaches.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

9:20 is right. This was BP's problem to fix.

The Coast Guard was on the scene a week ago. I'm not sure why the feds would be expected to intervene in BP's operation until they showed they blew it.

Anonymous said...

The price of shrimp is already up 10%. Oyster beds are being threatened.

If the oil doesn't get shut off soon, we are talking about the near total destruction of a major fishery - and 10's of thousands more unemployed...

followed by the destruction of hundreds of miles of some of the whitest beaches in the country. Reduced tourism, destroyed fishery, spike in unemployment - this is a disaster unfolding before us.

Now is when we should be asking ourselves, considering that the final price tag is likely to be in the billions, is our ongoing oil dependency worth it?

-Ms Stoneknocker

Anonymous said...

Ms Stoneknocker,

Every point you made validates the fact that this was an inside job just as 9/11 was.

Our government is the culprit, and quite often is.

monkey momma said...

The U.S. could be a bit more careful when it comes to drilling for oil offshore. How come our country doesn't require an acoustic switch? This is a remote controlled safety switch that could have stopped the leak from continuing, and other oil producing nations require it. Nothing is a perfect fail-safe protection, but these switches being absent on our country's oil rigs is NOT a good idea. I hope Obama champions their use after this debacle.

I don't blame Obama for the spill, but his delay in verbally responding reflects the sneaky nature of this particular spill. BP said all along that this wasn't a big deal, that they had it under control. Perhaps Obama actually trusted what one of his major campaign contributors told him. Regardless of how long it took Obama to address the nation, the real problem is the purchasing power oil companies have in our US Senate, Congress and Executive office.

Anonymous said...

Bernie I am for drilling oil in the ocean bed. I always believed that automatic and remote valves were in place to mitigated the possibility of this type of accident. Guess I was wrong.
But we still need the oil.
Bob Romancheck

Anonymous said...

2:59 haha so true

Anonymous said...

Not in my back yard! I want oil, yep, but haha the spill aint hurting me. na na na na na nah! Get back to drilling!

Anonymous said...

Why does Obama sound like George Bush here?

Bought and sold by the oil interests! Where is the man we elected?

Anonymous said...

Obama's Katrina. I bet he sure wishes he did not rip on Bush. This oil spill will have lasting effects beyond anyone's comprehension. At least New Orleans can be rebuilt be humans. Too bad the oceanic environment can't. Obama... Why did you not doing something early on??? You simply let a lot of people down.