It seems to be a question that’s popping up a lot lately, and the simple answer is: they don’t know how to stop it.
Of course they have the authority. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 gives Obama all the authority he needs to take over the spill if need be. But the government just isn’t prepared to respond. And so we have to rely on private companies like BP to clean up their own mess.
Basically, this isn’t a situation like Katrina where we could easily evacuated people or made sure they had clean water to drink and food to eat. Deep water oil spills are special beasts and, unfortunately, only the people who cause them can apparently fix them.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who previously threatened a government takeover of the mission, made clear Monday that BP must be involved in trying to stop the leaking oil.
“There are areas where BP and the private sector are the ones who must continue to lead the efforts with government oversight, such as a deployment of private sector technology 5,000 feet below the ocean surface to kill the well,” Salazar said Monday. “BP and the private sector, with the help of federal scientists, are the ones who must get that problem solved and we have the oversight capacity in the administration to make sure that they are doing that.”
In addition, the administration’s point man on the spill response, Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, said Monday that BP’s strategies were endorsed by other top oil company executives and he would advise against any shift from BP’s continued involvement.
“They have the means of production,” Allen said at a White House news conference. “They have the logistics in place. They have the ROVs [remotely operated vehicles] that are down there. We are jointly operating in their command post out of Houston [Texas]. Everybody that has a stake in the fight is there. And I am satisfied with the coordination that’s going on.”
By the way, even Republicans admit that the government is essentially powerless in this fight…
“They can fire BP and take it over,” Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “But the truth is, the federal government probably doesn’t have the capacity to do that.”
And why don’t we “have the capacity to do that?” Oh…could it be that we’ve trusted private enterprises too much with our safety?
Wonder where those ideas came from…
Do know that after these wells are finally capped and the oil has stopped leaking…we should ALL demand that the government now know how to do this themselves. Because the fact that we don’t have the equipment or know how to do this right now is crazy, especially given how much of a threat these leaks pose.
More as it develops…