Critics say plan to cut Coast Guard personnel will harm readiness for crises
Three months before the massive BP oil spill erupted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration proposed downsizing the Coast Guard national coordination center for oil spill responses, prompting its senior officers to warn that the agency's readiness for catastrophic events would be weakened.
That proposal is feeding a mounting debate over whether the federal government is able to regulate deep-sea oil extraction. Defense analysts and retired agency leaders question whether the Coast Guard -- which shares oversight of offshore drilling with the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service -- has the expertise and resources to keep pace with industry advances.
Accidents happen, "but what you're seeing here is the government is not properly set up to deal with this kind of issue," said Robbin Laird, a defense consultant who has worked on Coast Guard issues. "The idea that you would even think about getting rid of catastrophic environmental spill equipment or expertise at the Department of Homeland Security, are you kidding me?"
So, Obama wanted to cut the very people who we needed the most? Am I missing something?