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"Is It Obama's Fault?

Published:

"Is It Obama's Fault?

Source Powerlineblog.com
April 30, 2010 Posted by John at 8:10 PM

"Tonight I was listening to Hugh Hewitt as I drove to the grocery store, and got so engrossed that I missed my exit. What was so interesting? Hugh was arguing that the Obama administration failed to respond promptly to the oil spill in the Gulf, and that its belated response was inadequate.

Is that a fair charge? Normally, I would be slow to blame government at any level for a natural (or, as here, man-made) disaster. But the basic facts are curious: the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 21, nine days ago. This was no minor event; at least 11 workers were killed. The resulting oil slick has been evident, covering many miles, for some days now. Yet the federal response lagged.

There is a basic difference between this incident and Hurricane Katrina, to which it is being compared. In the case of Katrina, the primary responsibility for disaster response lay with the local and state governments. The local response was very poor; among other things, the governor of Louisiana was slow to call out the National Guard. Here, responsibility lay with the Obama administration from the beginning. State and local governments have no jurisdiction and no ability to deal with an oil spill miles out to sea. Only the federal government can act. It didn't, until, perhaps, it was too late.

Should more have been done, sooner? It is way too early to tell. The facts will emerge over the next several years. But the Obama administration's response does seem to have been oddly slow. Today, efforts to contain the spill have been hampered by high winds and choppy seas.

High winds and choppy seas frustrated efforts to hold back the oil spill seeping into Louisiana's rich fishing grounds and nesting areas Friday, and the government desperately cast about for new ideas for dealing with the nation's biggest environmental crisis in decades. ...

The seas were too rough and the winds too strong Friday to burn off the oil, suck it up effectively with skimmer vessels, or hold it in check with the miles of orange and yellow inflatable booms strung along the coast.

The floating barriers broke loose in the choppy water, and waves sent oily water lapping over them.

But what if these efforts had been made three or four days ago, when the oil slick was smaller and farther out to sea? It may turn out that the Obama administration's mysterious slowness in swinging into action was a critical failure that resulted in far greater environmental and economic damage.

So far, the Obama administration seems to have focused more on passing the buck than on containing the oil spill. The administration has told us, over and over, that British Petroleum is responsible for the accident and ultimately will pay the bills. Perhaps so. But those of us who have worked in the civil justice system for many years are well aware of the uncertainty of such predictions. More fundamentally, it is absurd for Barack Obama and Eric Holder to claim that the damage caused by this oil spill is of little concern because someday, British Petroleum may write a number of checks. Animals will be killed, livelihoods of fishermen and others will be destroyed, beaches will be fouled, untold damage will be done. The federal government has the unique responsibility to prevent that damage, if it can. Hoping to collect damages years later is hardly an adequate substitute.

It is too early to tell how extensive the damage will be, or to what extent the Obama administration failed to carry out its most basic duties. All we can say for the moment is that serious questions have been raised.

UPDATE: Oddly, the New York Times is documenting the Obama administration's failures:

BP officials said they did everything possible, and a review of the response suggests it may be too simplistic to place all the blame on the oil company. The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP, which was leasing the drilling rig that exploded in flames on April 20 and sank two days later. ...

The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was "a spill of national significance," and then set up a second command center in Mobile. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day.

The delay meant that the Homeland Security Department waited until late this week to formally request a more robust response from the Department of Defense, with Ms. Napolitano acknowledging even as late as Thursday afternoon that she did not know if the Defense Department even had equipment that might be helpful.

Officials initially seemed to underestimate the threat of a leak, just as BP did last year when it told the government such an event was highly unlikely."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/04/026199.php

Entry #1,782

Comments

1.
MADDOG10Comment by MADDOG10 - May 2, 2010, 3:17 pm
" More fundamentally, it is absurd for Barack Obama and Eric Holder to claim that the damage caused by this oil spill is of little concern because someday, British Petroleum may write a number of checks. Animals will be killed, livelihoods of fishermen and others will be destroyed, beaches will be fouled, untold damage will be done. The federal government has the unique responsibility to prevent that damage, if it can. Hoping to collect damages years later is hardly an adequate substitute."
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This statement shows the blatent mentality of this administration. Do I think it's this administrations fault that this happened, NO, but get off your a$$es and get something done. This puppet does'nt need to go to this site to access the damage, he needs to get people down there that know what they're doing....!
I can't believe this puppytus has divided this country as much as it has while the rest of the followers walk around blindfolded.
2.
konaneComment by konane - May 2, 2010, 3:47 pm
Thanks Maddog! Blindfolded is a delicate way of saying it.

"Obama administration's mysterious slowness in swinging into action"             Looks like taxpayers will be on the hook for higher energy costs and permanent energy taxes for years forever. How ironic that does the same thing as cap & trade would have.
3.
sully16Comment by sully16 - May 2, 2010, 4:38 pm
Where's PETA...WHY AREN'T THEY SCREAMING AT THEM.
4.
konaneComment by konane - May 2, 2010, 4:43 pm
Thanks Sully! Greenpeace and all the other environmental organizations. They should be as overworked about this as a kicked ant pile.
5.
jarasanComment by jarasan - May 2, 2010, 10:10 pm
Where are the Chinese? They can fix this. They are f'ing commies they know everything. They can come help us, just like Cuba and North Korea and Iran, GD ba$tard$. Where in the f$uk are the Mexicans! Where are the Haitians? What about the Greeks? Aren't there 30,000,000 unemployed US Americans, let's go down there and get that dang oil ASAP refine it and lower the price of ga$$$.
6.
konaneComment by konane - May 2, 2010, 10:35 pm
Thanks Jarasan! It's always been us helping whether we the taxpayers agreed to do it. We need help now so hope it will come.
7.
TigerAngelComment by TigerAngel - May 3, 2010, 12:33 am
It's highly irregular in my mind this spill, the delays, the recent announcement by Obama the U.S. would drill for more oil at home then in the same week 5 contracts were cancelled in Alaska. Looks like there is a hidden agenda at play. Perhaps another "crisis that shouldn't go to waste".
8.
konaneComment by konane - May 3, 2010, 7:30 am
Thanks TigerAngel! Too co-inky-dinky for sure. This unprecedented disaster and the closing down of the gulf gives them exactly what they intended to accomplish with cap & trade. According to this Halliburton installed the well casing that failed, second such failure this year according to the article. "ENDEMIC CORRUPTION IN BRUSSELS AND HALLIBURTON
http://worldreports.org/news/288_endemic_corruption_in_brussels_and_halliburton

Conspiracy theory ... or fact in the above??? The reader can decide for themselves. Like he's stated many times he's not been sued for what he's printed. For me it's another crumb of information that will or won't check out over time which is no different than any other article.
9.
konaneComment by konane - May 3, 2010, 10:35 am
"Gulf oil spill: The Halliburton connection
April 30, 2010 | 9:13 pm
Source Los Angeles Times

"Investigators delving into the possible cause of the massive gulf oil spill are focusing on the role of Houston-based Halliburton Co., the giant energy services company, which was responsible for cementing the drill into place below the water. The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.

In a letter to to Halliburton Chief Executive David J. Lesar on Friday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, called on Halliburton officials to provide all documents relating to "the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work" by May 7.

In a statement Friday, Halliburton said "it is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues." The company had four employees stationed on the rig at the time of the accident, all of whom were rescued by the Coast Guard. "Halliburton had completed the cementing of the final production casing string in accordance with the well design," it said. "The cement slurry design was consistent with that utilized in other similar applications. In accordance with accepted industry practice ... tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed."

More than two dozen class action lawsuits have been filed after the explosion against BP PLC, the British company that leased the Deepwater Horizon rig, against the rig's owner, Transocean Ltd. and against Halliburton. BP is "taking full responsibility" for the spill and will pay for legitimate claims by affected parties, company spokeswoman Sheila Williams said.

Cement is used at two stages of the deep-water drilling process. It is used to fill gaps between the well pipe and the hole drilled into the seabed so as to prevent any seepage of oil and gas. And it is used to temporarily plug an exploration hole before production begins. At the time of the accident, the Halliburton statement said, "well operations had not yet reached the point requiring the placement of the final cement plug which would enable the planned temporary abandonment of the well."

Experts say cementing is a basic part of drilling, exploration and production of oil on the sea floor. Drill ships or rigs plant large pipes called "conductors" on the sea floor, and casings, or nested pipes, are placed inside of them. The pipes are fixed in place by cement, some hanging inside other pipes, and a drill string is run down a casing, and extended to the sea floor to bore holes.

Mud works its way back up the pipes and the “riser,” a pipe that connects the drill site to the ship or rig above. Or oil is brought up. Cement fixes the operations in place. Cement may also be used to plug a well, pumped down the string until it comes up on the sides, and stops the hole.

Cementing a deep-water drilling operation is a process fraught with danger. A 2007 study by the U.S. Minerals Management Service found that cementing was the single most important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period -- more than equipment malfunction. Halliburton has been accused of a poor cement job in the case of a major blowout in the Timor Sea off Australia last August. An investigation is underway.

According to experts cited in Friday's Wall St. Journal, the timing of last week's cement job in relation to the explosion -- only 20 hours beforehand, and the history of cement problems in other blowouts "point to it as a possible culprit." Robert MacKenzie, managing director of energy and natural resources at FBR Capital Markets and a former cementing engineer, told the Journal, "The initial likely cause of gas coming to the surface had something to do with the cement."

In its statement, the company said, "Halliburton originated oilfield cementing and leads the world in effective, efficient delivery of zonal isolation and engineering for the life of the well, conducting thousands of successful well cementing jobs each year."

The company, which was once headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, has been in the media spotlight before -- under under fire in recent years for its operations as a private contractor in Iraq.

--Margot Roosevelt and Jill Leovy"

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/04/gulf-oil-spill-the-halliburton-connection.html
10.
TigerAngelComment by TigerAngel - May 3, 2010, 1:54 pm
Well, there ya go. 20 hours for cement to set at the bottom of the ocean? I'd give more time than that for a fence post in the yard!
11.
konaneComment by konane - May 3, 2010, 2:13 pm
Depends on the type mixture of concrete they used. Various additives can be added for different applications. I've been told in some applications table sugar can be added to retard setting of large volume 'pours' involving several trucks of concrete where they dump their load one after the other.

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