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No Crying Over Spilled Oil

May 10, 2010

On April 20, an oil platform operated by British Petroleum named Deepwater Horizon exploded and collapsed in over 5,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven oil workers and resulting in a massive crude oil spill. We’ve all heard the legend of the emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned. What was the Obama administration doing while the Gulf of Mexico was turning into the La Brea Tar Pits?

President Obama claimed, “We’ve made preparations from day one to stage equipment for a worst case scenario.” If true, then why did he sit on his hands for over a week as crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico? At that point, Obama dispatched an Interior Department “SWAT Team” to inspect oil rigs. I didn’t even know the Interior Department had SWAT Teams. According to US Department of the Interior web site the purposes of the department is to, “…manage and sustain America ’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, and honor our nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations…” We’re not talking about the FBI or the CIA. In the words of Chief Roy Mobey from the late 1970’s sitcom “Carter Country,” “What’s to swat?”

Ben Raines of the Mobile Press-Register says that a plan was already in place and pre-approved to deal with an event like the Deepwater Horizon accident and had been since 1994. Under the plan, the government would immediately deploy fire booms capable of containing and burning off over 75,000 gallons of oil per hour. This would have been enough to contain the spill dozens of miles offshore. The problem was that when the accident occurred the government did not have a single fire boom on hand. They had to purchase the only one available from a supplier in Illinois and then requested the supplier to call customers in other countries to see if the US could borrow their fire booms. By the time it could be deployed, some nine days after the accident, the winds had shifted to the south and it could not be used due to the soot from the burn being blown onshore.

The Washington Examiner quotes a former oil spill cleanup manger for NOAA, Ron Gouget, who agreed that the proper materials were not in place to deal with the spill but also says the reason not to burn immediately may have been political. The burn would create a great deal of soot. However, Gouget claimed that had they started to burn immediately 90% of the oil could have been contained.

President Obama seems to have a two-fold plan to deal with the disaster. One, have Attorney General Eric Holder dispatch an army of lawyers to the Gulf to monitor the spill and two, shut down all further offshore drilling, all the while keeping the blame squarely focused on BP and not his administration’s inept (to be kind) response to the spill.

But could his lack of urgency to deal with the spill be part of a strategy? Obama’s love of so-called “green energy” (wind mills, solar energy and other assorted nonsense) is well documented. So how would Obama push for the destruction of “dirty energy” and call for expansion of “clean energy”? Let’s look at what we know about the Obama administration and its modus operandi. As Rahm Emanuel said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This administration feeds on crisis. If they don’t have a crisis, they’ll invent one. The stimulus plan was pushed with an economic crisis. The health care takeover was pushed with an insurance crisis. The financial takeover is being pushed with a Wall Street crisis. So, what better way to push for “green energy” than with an environmental crisis? I’ll spell out what others have tiptoed around; I believe this administration wants this oil spill to be a catastrophe.

If my theory is correct, the administration is scoring points with the various environmental groups. These groups used the occasion of the Deepwater Horizon accident to sign a letter to Congress condemning offshore drilling as “unacceptable.” This includes any drilling provisions in their precious Cap and Trade bill.

We all must understand that our modern world requires energy and that means fossil fuels and the extraction of these fuels is inherently dangerous and accidents will happen. When they do, our government should be ready lend assistance so that the loss of life, the impact to the environment and the interruption in the supply of energy can be minimized, not use them to promote a political agenda.

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Copyright ©2010 Humphrey Stevenson

Humphrey Stevenson has BS degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics and an MBA and makes his home in Tulsa, OK. He is a chemist by trade, has been published in trade journals, and is a recent "tea party" participant and political writer. His inspiration, as with many conservatives, is Ronald Reagan.