Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Oil Spill Disaster Claims Another Victim?

Is President Obama the latest victim of the oil spill? After his speech last night, it appears that he's still not getting it.

We know that BP is going to be forced to compensate all those injured by the spill and that they're going to be held responsible for the cleanup and associated costs. We've known that since day 1 (when the question of who was involved and responsible was addressed - and that litigation between all potential parties would spell out liabilities after the spill was contained and cleaned up). We know that there are going to be lawsuits - there inevitably are when you have these situations.

What exactly did we learn that was new last night?

Not much.

The President didn't cause the blowout and leak. That's all on BP - as is the clean up costs and compensation to those who have been injured by the spill. Admonishing BP again isn't helpful as we already know he's annoyed with the company; we all are.

Where the President is failing is making sure that everything that can be done to expedite the cleanup and to minimize further damage is actually being done. He was short on specifics and media outlets around the nation seized on this in their overnight editorials.

Estimates for the size of the spill and the amount still gushing from the damaged well continues to increase.

When you hear that X,Y, and Z are available to provide mitigation, but aren't known or familiar to those in charge, or that equipment overseas can be used but for existing fed laws, or that there's manpower needs to clean beaches, yet the beaches remain damaged, that looks real bad for the President and the staff responsible for dealing with this environmental disaster.

The President had to give a speech to update everyone on what he's doing, but what he said is that even weeks after the spill, the government still isn't getting the job done (because of the aforementioned lack of bringing those resources to bear).

That's where and why the President is getting failing marks.

Individual governors (MS, LA, AL, FL) have repeatedly communicated their needs for assistance. In particular, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has demanded construction of temporary barriers to prevent the influx of oil into sensitive wetlands, but has been repeatedly delayed by the red tape at the federal level.

The president should be demanding Congress pass waivers to enable those measures be taken. Expedite cleanup and mitigation - that's what the Gulf Coast wants and needs.

The nation doesn't want to hear how wind turbines will somehow prevent future occurrences down the road when the current mess is still ongoing. They certainly didn't want to hear about cap and trade - and President Obama wisely didn't explicitly bring that up last night for fear that Democrat reelection chances would be squashed in November.

The nation wants to know how the government will assist in the cleanup efforts and prevent the oil from damaging beaches up and down the Gulf Coast more than they already have.

Where is the how in last night's speech?

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