• This is the worst environmental disaster in history of America.• The president is supposed to be in charge, period. According to the National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan: “The president shall direct all federal, state and private actions to remove the discharge can mitigate or prevent the threat of the discharge. The President may, without regard to any other provision of law governing contracting procedures or employment of personnel by the federal government”.• Excuses purporting that the federal government has limited powers due to the Jones Act of 1920 are ridiculous. The president has the power to waive any law impeding the cleanup effort.• 13 governments and organizations offered assistance to the United States within two weeks of the Horizon rig explosion. They include Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and United Nations. In fact, the Dutch government offered to provide ships with oil skimming booms within 72 hours after the explosion. These ships can process 5,000,000 gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge every 24 hours. There is also a Belgian group, DEME, which claims it can clean up the oil spill in 3 to 4 months with their own special equipment. Unfortunately, all these offers of assistance were either refused or ignored by the White House.• Five weeks ago, Escambia County officials requested permission from the federal Mobile Unified Command Center to use a sand skimmer in order to remove oil and tar from Pensacola’s beaches. They had not yet been given the courtesy of a response.• On May 11, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal requested federal authorization is so his state may begin emergency dredging and berming activity. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency approved only 2% of his plan. They believe that too many berms would alter the tidal movements. Louisiana State Sen. David Vitter was understandably angry, stating that “The president doesn’t seem to have a clue. His decision on the emergency dredging barrier island plan is a thinly veiled no. Approving 2% of the requests and kicking the rest months down the road is outrageous, absolutely outrageous”.• In Auburn Maine, a company named Packgen has miles of oil spill containment booms on hand, palletized and ready for shipment. They also have the capability to produce upwards of 100,000 linear feet of the boom equipment each day. BP has inspected their facility at least twice, but has not committed to making any purchases. Instead, they are investigating whether they can get a better deal from China.• Obama has not yet spoken to BP chief executive Tony Hayward. The excuse he offered was that speaking to Hayward would have been a waste of time.• Both BP and the government have withheld much of the information concerning the spell. Stan Senner, the Director of Conservation Science for Ocean Conservancy is on record as saying “There is an amazing lack of information about what’s being done and what the government knows”.• The Louisiana governor sent a letter to the secretaries of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security requesting National Guard assistance of approximately 6000 soldiers and airmen for 90 days, as authorized by Title 32 of the United States code. It appears that they are preparing for the worst, including a possible evacuation of several million people.
“Even though I am the president of the United States, my power isn’t limitless. So I can’t drive down there and plug the hole… I can’t suck it up with the straw”.
• He has issued a moratorium on oil exploration in the Gulf, which will cost Louisiana approximately $3 billion in revenue and the loss of about approximately 7600 jobs. It also is one step closer to making is totally dependent upon foreign oil.• He wants to continue to study the situation.• He wants to continue unemployment benefits.• He wants to use the crisis to leverage increased investment in solar, wind and bio diesel.• He wants to pass climate legislation in order to tax and reduce energy consumption in the United States.
“And so it’s going to be important that, based on facts, based on experts, based on a thorough examination of what went wrong here and where things have gone right, but also where things have gone wrong, that we update the laws to make sure that the people in the Gulf, the fishermen, the hotel owners, families who are dependent for their livelihoods in the Gulf, that they are all made whole and that we are in a much better position to respond to any such crisis in the future. ““I’m actually going to have a group of CEOs this afternoon who’ve come in from a wide range of different indu
stries — people from Bill Gates of Microsoft to the former chairman of DuPont who have come up with a series of recommendations about how we need to move much more aggressively on the energy agenda.”
“And although obviously our immediate task is to deal with a crisis that is affecting millions of people down in the Gulf, we can’t keep our eye off the importance of having an energy policy that meets the needs of the next generation and ensures that the United States is the leader when it comes to energy policy. We are not yet that leader, and that’s what I want us to do.”