Friday, May 14, 2010

Obama on Oil Spill Warpath, Jindal Says BP Will Be Held Accountable

Yes, the oil spill is an environmental disaster. Yes, it is a crisis that has spread beyond Louisiana's shores, but the phrase that repeatedly pops up when people talk about this problem is "It's a mess." The Associated Press and Dan Froomkin at Huffington Post report that the experts don't even seem to know the flow's source location.

BP is currently trying to insert a pipe to stem the flow. This video below from the oil company shows how oil and gas gush from the rig, which Deepwater Horizon leased to BP, and at the UK Telegraph, a reporter describes what's happening.

The leak up close: Oil and gas stream from a pipe 5,000 feet down

Increasingly government officials beyond Louisiana and environmentalists turn anger toward BP, the company that owns the rights to the oil resources, and President Barack Obama is taking his share of the heat as well for opening areas to more off-shore oil drilling April 1, only one day shy of three weeks before the April 20 rig explosion. However, the AP reports he's receiving good marks from the public for how he's handling this disaster, and an NBC poll indicates 60 percent of Americans still favor offshore drilling..

As he updated reporters today about progress to control the spill and while saying he wanted no more finger pointing among the companies associated with the spill, the president showed frustration with the solutions process. The companies involved are BP, Transocean/DeepHorizon, and Halliburton.

The New York Times frames the president's speech, "Obama Vows End to ‘Cozy’ Oversight of Oil Industry." Here is a part of what the president said today:
Let me also say, by the way, a word here about BP and the other companies involved in this mess. I know BP has committed to pay for the response effort, and we will hold them to their obligation. I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter. You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn't.

I understand that there are legal and financial issues involved, and a full investigation will tell us exactly what happened. But it is pretty clear that the system failed, and it failed badly. And for that, there is enough responsibility to go around. And all parties should be willing to accept it.

That includes, by the way, the federal government. For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill. It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore. To borrow an old phrase, we will trust, but we will verify.

Now, from the day he took office as Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar has recognized these problems and he's worked to solve them. Oftentimes he has been slammed by the industry, suggesting that somehow these necessary reforms would impede economic growth. Well, as I just told Ken, we are going to keep on, going to do what needs to be done. (Read full transript)

Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, has also at times reflected anger at BP. He had a press conference today as well in which he said BP would be held accountable, and praised the state's effort to contain the oil spill and the work of local fishermen. New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, St. Tammny Parish president Kevin Davis, and Congressman Joseph Cao were also present. has a transcript streaming live.

Seafood prices reflect concerns about the oil spill in this video below. While officials have said that the seafood is safe, and two oyster areas in the Gulf have reopened, no public officials deny the long term damage to marine life.

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