Gulf Oil Spill: Obama Waited 9 Days to Respond
May 7, 2010, 12:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gulf Oil Spill: Obama Waited 9 Days to Respond, Reminiscent of Bush’s Reaction to Katrina

Bayou Buzz
April 30, 2010

Another disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is heading for the shorelines of Louisiana. Once again, the federal government has bungled the response. In contrast to President Bush, who waited four days after Katrina to send federal help to New Orleans, President Obama has waited nine days to act after the horrific oil disaster in the Gulf.

In the meantime, precious time was lost, the oil is now on the coastline and the effort has changed from containment to clean-up. This is just another incident to expose the slow moving federal government cannot be trusted to assist in a disaster situation. It should have been a top priority for the Obama administration in the minutes after the disaster, not waiting over almost ten full days to take serious action.

Today, we are finally seeing the federal cavalry descending on the impact zone with booms, boats and personnel, but it is way too late. It would have been much easier to accomplish containment goals one week ago.

The initial reports from the rig operator, British Petroleum (BP), were that the spill was manageable and not that serious. Then, the news got worse each day until Wednesday night when it was announced that the size of the leak was five times greater than first announced.

It could take months to drill another well to relieve the pressure from the three leaks at the Deepwater Horizon rig site. Other options include BP constructing some sort of dome that would enclose the oil as it leaks. Presently, containment booms are being placed near sensitive areas, but the high waves are washing the oily water over the lines.

At this point, there are no good options and the targets seem to be the fragile ecosystems of South Louisiana. An environment disaster is clearly looming for Louisiana and other Gulf South states. Bird nesting grounds and wildlife habitats are in significant danger from this spill. Currently, the oil plume extends over 20,000 square miles and could impact ten wildlife refuges and official management areas. This tragedy will have a negative long term impact on the thriving seafood industry of the state and will also harm the lucrative restaurant and tourism industry of New Orleans.

The air quality is also deteriorating, causing many local residents with respiratory problems to stay indoors. A distinct oil odor can now be detected throughout the area and it may get worse before it gets better.

In Katrina, state and federal officials were caught unprepared. In this disaster, there has been another unacceptably slow response. It is especially disappointing to see such a weak response to this leak because there should have been regular training for this type of emergency situation. With all of the rigs in the Gulf, this type of disaster is not unimaginable, but instead one that should have been expected at some point.

While politicians seem to be pursuing a clean-up policy, there were inadequate plans to contain the spill from the very beginning. In the view of Aaron Viles of the Gulf Restoration Network, BP was allowed to play too large a role from the very beginning in managing this crisis. Of course, the initial information from BP was inaccurate and precious time was lost.

The rig exploded on April 20, but a state of emergency was not called until April 29. In the span of nine days, the federal government squandered valuable opportunities to deal with the spill. With a rig leaking 210,000 gallons of oil per day, the cost to our state will be immense, certainly in the range of billions of dollars.

According to ABC 26 WGNO-TV Meteorologist Hank Allen, “this could be the biggest ecological disaster of all-time, bigger than the Valdez.” The Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 was in a contained area, but this spill is anything but contained. We have no idea when the multiple leaks will be stopped.

Yesterday, the President announced that the Department of Defense might be used. Yet, without concrete action, this type of empty promise means nothing. In reality, the White House should have immediately dispatched any and all assets of the Defense or Homeland Security Departments that may help mitigate the negative impact of this disaster.

Finally, today, ten days after the explosion, officials from the Department of Homeland Security officials are reaching the area. Why the delay? Yesterday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano commented that the spill is of “national significance” and will devote more resources to the crisis. Yet, where was this urgency a week ago?

The poor response has not gone unnoticed by local leaders. State Representative Sam Jones (D-Franklin) claimed that he was “in deep concern about the lackadaisical response we have gotten on the oil spill containment.”

If this was the response of the Bush administration, there would be a media firestorm. Commentators would be howling with anger and loud protests if Bush had been caught so unprepared. However, since this poor response is the handiwork of the Obama administration, the media has been mostly quiet. In fact, President Obama has not yet visited the area and has not even made a Bush style flyover of the region.

As this disaster unfolds troubling questions remain unanswered. How did this explosion occur? Why did the inspections on the Deepwater Horizon prior to the explosion fail to find anything amiss? .What took the President and his Department of Homeland Security so long to act? Obama’s failures to show quick and decisive leadership on this environmental and economic disaster will only intensify concerns shared by so many Americans that he is not qualified to serve as President of the United States.

Will The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Be An Economic Disaster That The Gulf Coast Will Never Recover From?

U.S. not accepting foreign help on oil spill

BP cautions against bid to stop oil leak

Obama’s Katrina: an illustrated timeline



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