It would be nice, The Prof, if you actually read the articles you post.
So, since this incident started, there has been a high-ranking coast guard admiral on-site making decisions about the spill.Rear Adm. Robert C. North, retired, who was commander of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District from 1994 to 1996, said that decisions in these situations are made collectively, but that the buck essentially stops with the federal coordinator — in this case, Admiral Landry. “The federal on-scene coordinator is kind of the one individual to say, ‘I think we need to do more’ or ‘That’s adequate,’ ” he said.
If the government determines that the responsible party is not up to the job, it can federalize the spill, running the cleanup operations without the private company but billing it for the cost. This is a last resort, however.
In this case, Admiral North said, the oil companies have more technology and expertise than the government. “It doesn’t appear that federalizing it would bring in any more resources,” he said.
That's hardly doing nothing.
So, give it a rest.
My emphasis.Excerpted from “BP Is Criticized Over Oil Spill, but U.S. Missed Chances to Act” By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and ERIC LIPTON, The New York Times, Published: April 30, 2010
The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP, which was leasing the drilling rig that exploded in flames on April 20 and sank two days later. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead.
The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was “a spill of national significance,” and then set up a second command center in Mobile. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day. …
Some oil industry critics questioned whether the federal government is too reliant on oil companies to manage the response to major spills, leaving the government unable to evaluate if the response is robust enough. …
So, as I said in my post, the BP statements misled government authorities as to the true nature of the spill and that the government only ratcheted up its response once the true extent of the leak was understood and BP's failure to manage it was recognized.
In effect The New York Times quoted criticism is: the government was too dependent on the oil industry in addressing this crisis.
This failing is a long term strategy defect; one created by an insufficient regulatory structure established over decades of neglect. It is not one of mishandling a crisis as the Bush administration did with Hurricane Katrina. We know that better evacuations in front of slow moving hurricanes can be performed and that emergency supplies can be delivered faster into disaster zones once the storm has passed.
Contrast the Bush administration's compounded incompetence with that demonstrated competence reported by The New York Times.
Perhaps, the correct government action would have been to prevent the Deepwater Horizon rig from even being started at the beginning of the decade until sufficient emergency resources were available to the government to address any reasonable or even, unreasonable failure that might occur. Perhaps that should be the standard going forward. Would you like that?Excerpted from ibid.
Within a matter of hours of the report of the explosion, the Coast Guard had dispatched three cutters, four helicopters and a plane to the scene, helping to save 90 workers, including three critically injured ones who were sent by helicopter for emergency care.
Just last year, the government was being told that such a failure was extremely unlikely.‡ If the government had stopped Deepwater Horizon on such concerns do you think the “Drill, baby, drill” crowd would have been supportive? I don't. I think we know now why this project proceeded apace and why we are now confronted with one of the worst ecological catastrophes in decades. Because the oil extraction industry wanted it to proceed and any opposition to it was steamrolled.
The Obama administration will be criticized for the government's slowed response; the buck does stop with the president, no doubt. As Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano once said (out of context), “the system worked,” in this case, exactly as it was designed to work. You can argue as the critics quoted in The New York Times article that it wasn't good enough, but, that is quite different from saying the Obama administration handled the crisis incompetently.
Indeed, in every case, I think the Coast Guard and the Homeland Security people have done as well as could be hoped for based on the resources and training they were allocated. The plan was that the industry had sufficient motivation by themselves to assure that such failures never occurred, or, if they did occur that they could be handled by them and them alone. It turns out they didn't.
Last edited by Chappy; 05-01-10 at 07:47 PM.
“Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001
also from the link, my emphasis:
The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was “a spill of national significance,” and then set up a second command center in Mobile. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day.
The delay meant that the Homeland Security Department waited until late this week to formally request a more robust response from the Department of Defense, with Ms. Napolitano acknowledging even as late as Thursday afternoon that she did not know if the Defense Department even had equipment that might be helpful.
Officials initially seemed to underestimate the threat of a leak, just as BP did last year when it told the government such an event was highly unlikely. Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry, the chief Coast Guard official in charge of the response, said on April 22, after the rig sank, that the oil that was on the surface appeared to be merely residual oil from the fire, though she said it was unclear what was going on underwater. The day after, officials said that it appeared the well’s blowout preventer had kicked in and that there did not seem to be any oil leaking from the well, though they cautioned it was not a guarantee.
(The NOAA document on a potentially far larger leak, first obtained by The Press-Register in Mobile, Ala., was described by an agency spokesman as simply a possibility raised by a staff member, not an official prediction.)
But it is still the government, in this case the Coast Guard, that has the final say. A law passed a year after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster makes the owner of a rig or vessel responsible for cleaning up a spill. But oversight of the cleanup is designated to the Coast Guard, with advice from other federal agencies.
Rear Adm. Robert C. North, retired, who was commander of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District from 1994 to 1996, said that decisions in these situations are made collectively, but that the buck essentially stops with the federal coordinator — in this case, Admiral Landry. “The federal on-scene coordinator is kind of the one individual to say, ‘I think we need to do more’ or ‘That’s adequate,’" he said.
First, people (Reps/Conservs) say gov't should stay out of the business of private companies, now all of a sudden the gov't didn't act fast enough!?! Give me a freakin' break!!!
Next folks will start complaining that we shouldn't drill off-shore period, yet will also complain how we still have this huge dependency on foreign oil. You can't have it both ways, people!
april 27: he goes to iowa to "criticize senate republicans" on reg reform and "extol the benefits of the stimulus plan"Ten days ago, after an explosion occurred on BP's Deepwater Horizon rig off the Gulf Coast, the initial word from the Coast Guard was that there was no oil spill. That soon changed as the government announced that 1,000 barrels of thick oil per day were spilling into the ocean.
Then, in a dramatic shift on Wednesday evening, the government changed its 1,000 barrels estimate to 5,000 barrels per day. BP initially rejected the new estimate about the spill, which experts now believe could be worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.
… TPMmuckraker decided to take a look at the course of events, and the shifting public statements of company and government officials on the spill.
April 20: At around 10 p.m. a fire is reported … on the Deepwater Horizon rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. and under lease to energy giant BP, according to an April 21 statement from Transocean. There is no mention of any possible spill. Eleven workers are killed.
April 22: With the media coverage of the explosion focusing on the missing workers and, initially, not about the possibility of a spill, AFP notes the possibility of an environmental disaster: the rig had been drilling 8,000 barrels of oil per day, and had 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. "Worst case scenario, there is a potential environmental threat," Coast Guard spokeswoman Katherine McNamara tells the wire service. BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, says BP will do "everything in our power to contain this oil spill and resolve the situation as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible." The company said it dispatched a team to deal with the oil that dispersed from the original blast.
April 23: The day after the rig sank, the AP reports: "Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said Friday morning that no oil appeared to be leaking from the well head at the ocean floor, nor was any leaking at the water's surface. However, Landry said crews were closely monitoring the rig for any more crude that might spill out.
April 24: In the late afternoon, the AP reports that the Coast Guard has reversed its earlier statement that there was no oil leaking. The wire service quotes Guard officials as saying an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil per day are coming out of the well head on the ocean floor, 5,000 feet under water. Landry says that the oil may have been pouring out since the rig sank on April 22.
BP's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, speaking about options on responding to the spill, says, "Over the next several days, we should determine which method is the best one to follow"
April 26: BP says in a press release it is 'accelerating offshore oil recovery and continuing well control efforts. Improved weather "combined with the light, thin oil we are dealing with has further increased our confidence that we can tackle this spill offshore," says BP chief exec Tony Hayward.
April 27: After underwater robots fail to stop the flow of oil, the coast guard floats the idea of containing pools of oil in containment booms and then setting it on fire. Meanwhile, BP says it will begin drilling a new relief well near the spill site later in the week; the process could take months.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the Energy and Commerce committee, writes a letter (.pdf) to the chairman of BP notifying him of an investigation into "what the companies knew about the risks of drilling at the site and the adequacy of the companies' response plans." He charges that "[a] striking feature of the incident is the apparent lack of an adequate plan to contain the spreading environmental damage. The two companies involved, BP Exploration and Production, Inc., and Transocean Ltd., are attempting to contain the oil spilling from the well with techniques that have never been used before at these ocean depths."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announce an investigation of the explosion.
April 28: Late Wednesday, the Coast Guard announces that 5,000, not 1,000, barrels a day of oil are spilling, citing a new National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration estimate. At the same press conference as the Coast Guard announcement, BP COO Doug Suttle disputes the new estimate and argues that a newly discovered leak does not change the rate of the spill. "He showed a diagram showing where the leaks are and said the newly discovered leak is upstream from the previous leaks," the AP reports.
April 29: Suttle acknowledges on the Today Show that the government's new estimate may be accurate. In a Rose Garden statement, Obama says the Administration will use "every single available resource" to address the spill, including the military. He also says BP will have to pay the costs.
april 30: he warns the giddy grads from the university of michigan about "extremist" critics of big govt who might resort to "violence"
may 1: his radio address is devoted to overstepping scotus on campaign finance, his only remembered pledge from his otherwise completely forgotten sotu, not a word about the gulf