Back in June reports came out suggesting that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had lied in a report on the Gulf Coast spill by claiming that a panel of outside exports had peer-reviewed the report’s conclusions, which included a job-killing moratorium on offshore drilling. After this came out, the Interior Secretary had to retract and disavow any nefarious intent on the administration’s behalf; and you could have believed as much of that disavowal as you liked. Given that this White House purely hates offshore drilling and jumped at the chance to reverse course on the topic, it was reasonable enough not to believe a word of it.
Well, it’s now confirmed, via an Inspector General’s investigation, that the language in question was actually changed by a staffer to White House energy adviser Carol Browner. This makes sense; Browner is a notorious Greenie who took advantage of the Gulf Coast oil spill to do a little empire building. That the report just happened to get manipulated in such a way as to make it appear that the industry consensus supported an immediate moratorium on offshore drilling, and that it just happened to be manipulated by the office of the one staffer whose agenda would be advanced by a moratorium, is being treated as a… coincidence, apparently. You see, nobody’s admitting any wrongdoing, which is expected to be treated as evidence that there wasn’t any. And you can believe as much of that as you like, too.
Meanwhile, one Congressman estimated that we lost 12,000 jobs and about 1.8 billion dollars in revenue in the Gulf. But Browner got the President’s Blackberry number, so: even trade, right?
And I said, “Well, the spill itself could spontaneously achieve self-awareness, coalesce into a globular carbon mass of malice, and hare off to an abyssal lair from whence it could plot dark, inky dreams of conquest.”
According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan — early on — to erect huge booms offshore to shield the approximately 200 miles of the state’s coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms — some weighing tons and seven meters high — to guard their coast.
But … no sooner were the booms in place than the Coast Guard, perhaps under pressure from the public comments of James Carville, uprooted them and moved them to guard the Louisiana coastline instead.
It was treated as an oddball twist in the otherwise wrenching saga of the BP oil spill when Kevin Costner stepped forward to promote a device he said could work wonders in containing the spill’s damage. But as Henry Fountain explains in the New York Times, the gadget in question — an oil-separating centrifuge — marks a major breakthrough in spill cleanup technology. And BP, after trial runs with the device, is ordering 32 more of the Costner-endorsed centrifuges to aid the Gulf cleanup.
Hunt is one of the candidates running for Charlie Melancon’s seat in LA-03: the district is smack dab in the middle of Obamaspill, and as you can imagine, the candidate has views on that. Hunt’s a former general in the LA National Guard and state official, which gives him a pretty interesting perspective on this mess:
He’s very indignant about what’s happening with the Obamaspill right now.
If you talk to elected leaders from Louisiana to Florida, they fill your ears with tales of incompetence — of advice that was not heeded, of red tape stifling effective operations, of local knowledge that was cast aside and trampled.
He is so indignant about this, in fact, that if this was the only thing that David Brooks had ever wrote you would be forgiven for concluding that David Brooks did not spend the last election cycle helping to get elected President the man who is now busily mucking up coordinating the cleanup. Which is, indeed, so mucked up that local governments are preemptively announcing that they’re not going to wait for the Feds to do to them what the Feds have done to Louisiana.
And, believe me, I can spend the next three paragraphs cataloging all the ways that the government has mucked and is mucking up up the Gulf recovery effort. So it’d be nice if you mentioned from time to time just how big your lapse in judgment was in 2008, Brooks. Particularly since, if things had gone the other way, this crisis would have been a perfect match for THAT WOMAN’S skill set and experience.
And they wondered why we looked askance at putting somebody in office with no executive experience. Byron York points out how the President apparently thought that offshore drilling was ‘absolutely safe’:
There was one particularly striking moment in President Obama’s widely panned Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil disaster. About midway through his talk, Obama acknowledged that he had approved new offshore drilling a few weeks before the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20. But Obama said he had done so only “under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe.”
Absolutely safe? Even before the Gulf spill, few defenders of offshore drilling would go that far.
Read the whole thing, particularly the bits where administration officials are falling all over each other to deny that they’re the ones who used the dread phrase. In the meantime – since apparently I, a liberal arts major with a degree in English lit and some grad school work in library science, have more of a grasp of offshore drilling operations than the three-brained Vulcan genius elected to the Presidency in 2008 – let me explain what offshore drilling is.
Offshore drilling is when you go out onto a big pool of corrosive liquid that will kill you in minutes if you’re not careful, and days if you’re careful and unlucky (we call this an ‘ocean.’ Once you’re on this ocean, you take a big metal needle and you jam it into the rock at the bottom of the ocean, hard enough that it will break through the rock and hopefully find a big deposit of a flammable, toxic, explosive, and volatile complex hydrocarbon under pressure (we call this ‘oil.’ Assuming you find any oil, you then suck it up with a metal straw and bring it to shore.
Don’t spill any. Or set it on fire. Or have it explode, then set the ocean on fire. That would be… bad.
…And that’s offshore oil drilling. Valuable? Yes. Worth doing? Certainly. Vitally necessary for the continued smooth operation of modern society? Only the real dolts – and I’m talking a level of doltishness found among, say, people who think that the existence of ubiquitous electric cars doesn’t imply the existence of ubiquitous nuclear power plants – would say no. ‘Absolutely safe?’ Heck, no.
PS: By the way, Mr President: the person who told you that? Yeah. Fire that person.