Wednesday, June 2, 2010

There's Also That Small Matter Of The Oil Spill

It's amazing what a difference a single day makes, isn't it? For example, here's the latest total about-face by the Obama administration, this time on the Gulf oil spill:

The old paradigm:

The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort. As far as I’m concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy.

We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they’ve done and the painful losses that they’ve caused. And we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak.

But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance. I’ve designated Admiral Thad Allen, who has nearly four decades of experience responding to such disasters, as the national incident commander. And if he orders BP to do something to respond to this disaster, they are legally bound to do it.

The new paradigm:

Struggling to convey command of the worsening Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Obama administration is taking steps to distance itself from BP and is dispatching Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to the Gulf Coast to meet with federal and state prosecutors. The Holder trip could signal that the environmental calamity might become the subject of a criminal investigation. …

The relationship between the federal government and the oil company has been an awkward collaboration all along — “We have them by the neck,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said of BP in congressional testimony last week — but it reached a turning point Monday when the administration said it no longer wants to share a podium with BP at the daily briefing in Louisiana. Instead, the national incident commander, Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, will give a solo briefing wherever he happens to be.

... With bad news washing up everywhere, the administration has been desperate to convince the public that the government, and not the oil company, is fully in charge of the crisis and mounting a robust response.


Oh, and there's this little video that the NRSC put together:

Oops again! Someone really needs to clue in the White House about this nifty little website called YouTube, and the fact that any 12-year old kid with a cell phone can post videos to it in seconds. They keep seeming to forget.

In a poor parody of seriousness, the Obama administration appears to have run out of real experts, because they're now tapping Hollywood director James Cameron for advice on what to try next. Um...correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there are any naked blue-skinned giants running around on the bottom of the ocean, so I'm not sure how he's going to help.

The radical Left also thinks that expanded government is still the right answer:
It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped. This is the only way the public know what’s going on, be confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher, ensure BP’s strategy is correct, know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary, and be sure the President is ultimately in charge.
When all you've got is a hammer...

Rush Limbaugh helps put this spill in perspective:
The official climatologist of the EIB Network, Roy Spencer, has sent in a chart of oil spills through the years. The second-to-smallest oil spill through the years since 1991 to present is the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. A deliberate spill by Iraqi forces 1991-1992 spilled 500 million gallons of oil. Average yearly spills, rigs and tankers, global, every year, 250 million gallons of oil spilled from rigs and tankers. As I keep talking about: In 1979, the Ixtoc 1 rig in the Gulf of Mexico spilled about 140 million gallons. Then the Amoco Cadiz, which is a ship, the English Channel, about 60 million. Torrey Canyon, south England, a ship, about 30 million. The Exxon Valdez was 11 million. And so far we're at about 25 or 30 million gallons; this is assuming 15,000 barrels a day through May at the Deepwater Horizon rig. So it's the second smallest oil spill since 1991 or '92. Not that it isn't bad, don't misunderstand. I'm just trying to put things in perspective.
Here's the visual:

Elisabeth Rosenthal also points out that the volume of oil spilled in this particular incident is a mere day's worth of spillage compared to some parts of the world:
John Vidal, the paper’s environment editor, movingly recalls a trip to the Niger Delta a few years ago, where he literally swam in “pools of light Nigerian crude.”

A network of decades-old pipes and oil extraction equipment in the delta has been plagued by serious leaks and spills. “More oil is spilled from the delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico,” he writes.
Yeah, this is bad, but don't think it's the end of the world, or even the Gulf of Mexico. It needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, but this planet is damned tough, and was designed with the ability to recover from things like this. It may take some time, but it'll happen.

The point is that we need to keep the proper perspective as we talk about how to move forward. Suspending all oil exploration, drilling, and production as a knee-jerk reaction to this one spill that is, historically speaking, far from catastrophic is a tremendously bad idea that will have extremely serious ramifications to America's economy and energy sectors for decades to come. Let's stop and think before we overreact, shall we?

There's my two cents.

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