Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dealing with Oil Spill Facts, not Whining

(Picture from here.)

It didn't take long for the rightees to somehow blame Obama for the oil spill.

Facts are always good for situations like these. A fairly good timeline is shown here, here, here and here.

To summarize:

4/20: Deepwater Horizon explodes
4/21: Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes goes to Gulf to coordinate. BP/Transocean gives statement on incident. No mention of possible spill.
4/22: Rig sinks. Obama briefed. Government monitoring spill but largely search and rescue. Helicopters and ships employed.
4/23: Coast Guard thinks no oil appears to be leaking. Search and rescue suspended.
4/24: Leak discovered by underwater remote Coast Guard cameras. Estimated at 1000 barrels/day. Approves plan to to have remote underwater vehicles activate blowout preventer. Efforts fail.
4/26: Weather keeps oil from moving to coast.
4/27: US Department of Interior and Homeland Security announce plans for investigation. Coast Guard investigates possibility of burning spill. BP announces relief well to be built nearby. Effort will take months. Obama officials meet with executives of BP. Coast Guard sets up protective booms around wildlife refuges.
4/28: Coast Guard attempts to burn spill. Burn successful but won't stop rest of spill. Capping leak estimated to take months. Coast Guard ups estimate to 5000 barrels/day. BP COO Suttle disputes estimate. National emergency declared. Louisiana emergency declared. Obama pledges resources to spill. Relief rig reaches site.
4/29: BP COO Suttle admits new estimate might be accurate.
4/30: More visits to the Gulf region. Obama halts new offshore drilling. Orders new inspections for all 30 deepwater drilling rigs and 47 deepwater production platforms.
5/1: Coast Guard names national incident commander. Oil leakage estimates from non-governmental sources upped again to 25,000 barrels/day. (Limbaugh says it's eco-terrorism.) Louisiana national guard sends equiment. Relief rig begins drilling.
5/2: Obama visits coast guard. Fishing banned for 10 days.
5/3: BP CEO says BP will pay for clean up and legitimate legal claims. BP tries to install shutoff valve. Coffer dams being built to capture oil. (Limbaugh claims cleanup isn't necessary. Sea will take care of it.)
5/4: Workers rescued in lifeboats sue Transocean for holding them in lifeboats for 10 hours.
5/5: One leak stopped. Two others remain.

To compare this to Katrina, see the FactCheck timeline here.

Now, compare the facts above to the vitriol below.

Jeff Crouere, for Human Events, titled his article: "Obama fiddled while the gulf burned". His big problem is that Obama didn't remark on it until 9 days later and didn't visit the region immediately.

Newt Gingrich links the Gulf spill to immigration and border control. (You'd have to ask him how that works. I couldn't figure the logic except that Obama is president of the same country as the problems.) He likes to spin things and says the Coast Guard "claimed" there was no leak. Well, surprise, they looked through cameras, didn't see one and said there wasn't one. Then, found one and said there was. Dealing with facts has never been Newt's strong suit.

Could it have been done better? Probably. Nobody expected the explosion and we don't do well with unexpected crises.

The big difference, one these two authors do not seem to understand or blithely hope their audiences don't comprehend, is that the Bush administration they're comparing Obama to didn't act until he got there and the Obama administration clearly did. The Coast Guard was there doing search and rescue within hours. There were people stuck in New Orleans for weeks.

I guess when you operate a completely top down administration, nothing happens until the big guy looks at it. Doesn't seem that these guys realize the difference.

Wall of Idiots
Imagine a black Tea Party

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