Posts Tagged ‘BP Oil Spill’
April 20th, 2011 at 10:03 am
Gulf Blowout Was Terrible Anomaly

Following up on my column today on the execrable Obama response to last year’s Gulf oil spill, it’s worth reading pieces in the New Orleans Times-Picayune today so as to remind us of certain realities. First, as the caption accompanying this editorial notes (and as has been reported numerous times), this disaster hardly came out of nowhere. Instead, workers and mid-level supervisors had been reporting problems on this particular well for weeks.

Both widows including Courtney Kemp, of Jonesville, La. told committee members that their husbands, Shane Roshto and Wyatt Kemp, had told them in the weeks before the explosion about problems they had in controlling the well. “This well was different in the fact that they were having so many problems, and so many things were happening, and it was just kind of out of hand,” said Kemp.

Other reports confirm that these truths:

The AP recently obtained documents showing that a BP drilling engineer who worked closely on the blown-out well kept quiet about his misgivings in the weeks leading up to the accident.

In an email message to his wife on March 11, 2010, Brian Morel said his team aboard the rig was “out of control.”

“I can’t take it, so I am staying away from the issues today,” he wrote.

A few weeks earlier, the company had reprimanded Morel in a performance evaluation, cautioning him to pick his battles and “learn when to push and when to concede.”

In other words, this was eminently preventable. Warning signs were missed. Decision-making was terrible. And BP had a reputation, at least in some quarters, for cutting corners on safety.

What this means is that the risks of something like this happening again are very, very slim. If it hasn’t happened for many decades, and then when it does happen it turns out to have been preventable, and if everybody is now on the lookout for signs of trouble, and if new safety equipment and well-capping equipment has been developed and are ready at hand… well, then, it stands to reason that all other would-be drillers, and all the businesses and individuals who depend on the wells for their livelihoods, should not be punished by a “permitorium” on offshore drilling. Nor should American consumers nationwide, who are seeing energy prices (especially prices at the pump) rise to near-record levels.

Meanwhile, the T-P’s Bob Marshall (who was my boss nearly a quarter-century ago) updates us all on the continuing efforts to analyze the long-term ecological damages from the spill. This is crucial work. Conservatives rightly skeptical of EPA overreach on matters large and small, and property owners justly angry at the federal government’s assault on private property in the name of protecting “wetlands” that are no more than “prairie potholes,” sometimes forget that some ecological causes are indeed important. I have always argued that the most important of those are the health of the oceans and seas and the fisheries within them, which also means protecting the coastal eco-systems (actual wetlands/marshlands) that serve as the nurseries for those fisheries. Hunters and fishermen, innately conservative on so many levels, understand these things.

The trick to protecting these precious resources held in common is not to regulate people half to death, but to provide incentives for (or remove disincentives from) proper husbandry of the wetlands and seas. Government wetlands replenishment projects, to make up for the effects of government levee-building and canal-dredging, also are appropriate in some places — and they are less expensive than are disaster-relief costs to make up for damages caused by hurricanes whose effects would be far less fierce if healthy wetlands were still available to absorb some of the rising floodwaters and otherwise cushion the blow.

Nobody really needs a heavy hand from government; heavy hands too often come down with the force of a Rocky Marciano clenched fist. What is needed is a government that is responsive and smart, one which reacts quickly (Obama’s administration did not) but that does not overreact in ways that further punish the victims (which is what Obama did).

Future blowouts can be prevented without killing the regional or national economies. Again, the BP disaster was an anomaly. As my colleague Renee Giachino said on this site last week, the whole airline industry isn’t closed down when one plane crashes. Why should energy exploration be treated any differently?

October 27th, 2010 at 10:01 pm
Obama’s Intellectual Shortcomings Revealed
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For reasons surpassing understanding, the White House seems to have decided that the immediate run-up to a catastrophic mid-term election is the time for a series of insider press portraits of an asphyxiating presidency. The latest such installment comes in a profile of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in the new issue of GQ. Buried among many gems in the piece is this new nugget about President Obama’s initial reaction to the Gulf Oil Spill:

No sooner had Obama publicly beheaded McChrystal that Wednesday than a fresh catastrophe crossed Gibbs’s desk: An undersea robotic vehicle in the Gulf had dislodged the containment cap on the BP well. Until the lid was reattached eleven hours later, a new torrent of oil spilled into the sea. Gibbs went back into the Oval to give Obama the news.

The president stared at Gibbs, stunned. “Well, why did it do that?” he demanded.

“Sir, we’re trying to find that out.”

“Gibbs,” Obama said, “your job the rest of the day is to make sure that one of those vehicles doesn’t do that again.”

Come again? Would that be the President of the United States telling his Press Secretary to take the lead on a underwater engineering project so complex that it befuddled the President’s Nobel laureate Secretary of Energy? What was Gibbs supposed to do? Draft an aggressive press release prohibiting any further disasters? We know this is the man who promised to stem the ocean’s rising tides, but perhaps Obama was taking the whole King Canute shtick a little too seriously.

July 16th, 2010 at 11:01 am
Video: Gulf Oil Spill – From Hope to Audacity

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the Obama Administration’s politically-motivated response to the oil spill in the Gulf and its cozy relationship with BP.


July 16th, 2010 at 9:26 am
Podcast: Florida Legislator Discusses BP Oil Spill Issues

In an interview with CFIF’s Renee Giachino, Florida State Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) discusses the federal government’s slow response to the BP oil spill, the need for a special session of the Florida legislature and the spill’s implications for the country’s energy policy.

Listen to the interview here.

June 25th, 2010 at 2:06 pm
Video: Obama’s Recovery Summer
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the Obama Administration’s “Recovery Summer” public relations tour. 

As Giachino points out in the video, “If initiatives like the stimulus package and Obamacare really worked, [the President] wouldn’t have to be touring the country trying to promote them after they have already passed. No amount of speeches will put Americans back to work or plug the gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. It’ll take long hours, hard work and tough decisions.  And unfortunately, those don’t come loaded into the teleprompter.”


June 25th, 2010 at 10:40 am
Obama’s Oil Spill Commission: Long on Activism, Short on Knowledge and Expertise

More than two months after the BP oil spill began in the Gulf, and amid warranted public anger, President Obama still appears more interested in not letting the crisis go to waste than providing the leadership necessary to help “plug the damn hole.”

The latest evidence is outlined in a piece published earlier this week on, authored by Dr. Michael Economides, an energy analyst, petroleum engineer and Editor-in-Chief of Energy Tribune.

Dr. Economides notes that the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which is charged with providing recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate the impact of future spills,  is “well-stocked with anti-drilling activists and high-ranking officers of environmental groups” and is “devoid of a single expert on oil production or offshore development.”

Take for example Richard Lazarus, the man President Obama appointed Executive Director of the Commission.   As Dr. Economides points out, “Lazarus’ background is far from technical and, perhaps more ominously, far from unbiased. Lazarus is an environmental lawyer who has, in fact, argued 30 cases in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of environmental interests. Quite simply, Lazarus is an incredibly accomplished, incredibly talented opponent of offshore drilling.” 

And, to say that the resumes of the rest of the members on the Commission are thin on any real technical experience would be an understatement. 

The devastating accident in the Gulf was the result of a complex series of events.  Providing real answers should include the work of experts with industry and technical knowledge, rather than just partisan activists.

In addition to appointing a politically motivated Commission, President Obama’s short-sighted moratorium on offshore drilling, now overturned by the courts, was nothing more than a political decision to score political points.  Strangling commerce and the flow of energy in the U.S. would have severe consequences for those already suffering in the Gulf.   Jobs, revenue and entire local communities are at stake. 

The energy industry and the American economy are in a precarious position.  Now is the time to consider smart policy options, not for more political maneuvering. 

Read Dr. Economides’ entire article here.

June 18th, 2010 at 10:30 am
Video: The Green Bailout
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino lambasts the Obama Administration and Congressional leadership for their shameless exploitation of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf to advance Cap-and-Trade:  their devastating plan to send energy prices skyrocketing.


June 18th, 2010 at 9:03 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Capping the Economy Instead of the Oil Spill
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 18th, 2010 at 8:32 am
Podcast: Local County Commissioner Discusses Oil Disaster in Gulf

In an interview with CFIF, Santa Rosa County (FL) Commissioner Gordon Goodin discussed the government’s response to the Deepwater Horizon incident and the severe economic impact on the Gulf Coast.

Listen to the interview here.

June 17th, 2010 at 9:49 am
Ramirez Cartoon: We Need a Moratorium on … Politics
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 16th, 2010 at 10:30 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama’s Notes On the BP Oil Spill
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In response to President Obama’s televised speech from the Oval Office regarding the BP oil spill in the Gulf, below is Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez’s latest cartoon.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 4th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
Podcast: Florida State Senator Discusses BP Oil Spill

In an interview with CFIF, Florida State Senator Don Gaetz discusses the BP oil spill, the government’s response and the potential impact on the environment and economy of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Listen to the interview here.

May 28th, 2010 at 10:12 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Katrina Comparisons Multiply
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.