Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.
John Ray-environmentalist

The oil disaster in the gulf continues. That is bad news. The good news is that President Obama has appointed a commission to study the problem and come up with a solution. The commission will release its solution in six months. There is related good news. Within six months, if absolutely nothing is done, enough oil will probably have been released to equalize the pressure between the seabed and the oil reservoir and the leak will stop on its own.

You have to hand it to the President. Only a special type of mind could come up with a solution like that. Who knows? Perhaps, in six months, the commissions’ recommendation will actually be to allow the leak to continue until the pressure equalizes; then, when it happens, they will be able to announce to the world that the Obama plan worked.

Ah, but there is more! Obama is starting a backup plan to shut the leak down. He is going with something he truly understands. He is preparing to release the trial lawyers on Halaburton and BP. This will certainly stop the leak if all else fails. The man knows how to play to his strengths. If the lawyers can get involved quickly enough, maybe they can accomplish two goals. First, the evil oil companies can be bankrupted, halting all real attempts to stop the leak and allowing the Obama plan to come to fruition. Second, a huge supplier of the world’s oil will be out of business, causing massive oil shortages and pushing the advent of battery powered cars. Umm, gosh, it would be great if the countries controlling the materials needed to make those batteries did not hate us so much – no matter, we will not be dependant on OPEC.

Still, Obama is not showboating with his extreme knowledge of disaster mitigation. He is not claiming to be doing it all on his own. Other members of his administration are doing their part. While Obama’s efforts are stopping the leak, his administration is doing everything they can to mitigate the damage to the gulf coast. For instance, they stalled the attempt at the old tried and true burn off to get rid of floating oil. Then they stopped the use of previously-used dispersants because they wanted an environmental impact study. One cannot be too careful when choosing the right dispersant solution. Certainly no harm could occur during an exhaustive environmental impact study; after all, all anyone knows about these dispersants is what was learned during all the times they were used in the past.

The one overall bright spot was the existence of a disaster plan to protect the shore in case of a major oil spill. Everything is there in one document: what is needed and where to get it. The governors of the effected Gulf Coast States immediately requested assistance in getting men and equipment to build barricades to protect their shores. Everyone is pretty sure that the disaster plan will be implemented on some unknown date in the future; the President just wants to be sure BP has had a realistic chance at fixing its own mess. Make no mistake; the President’s inner circle stands ready to take over if needed. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has threatened to “push BP out of the way” if they do not get this fixed.

Those old enough to have heard of the Keystone Cops will understand this post. They may be the inspiration behind this administrations’ efforts to control the gulf oil spill. While it is humorous to watch a Chinese fire drill, not much gets done.

Many questions arise from this deepwater accident. Why wasn’t the oil spill disaster plan implemented immediately? Will it ever be implemented? Could the President’s calling together of the very best engineers from all the oil, deepwater, high-pressure fluids and other related disciplines have found an answer on how to stop the leak? Does the threat of multiple civil suits and criminal prosecutions, while the oil is still leaking, accomplish anything? Is the appointment of a commission to study the situation, and issue a reply in six months, even remotely logical? Why did the President wait so long before getting involved? Could the offer of supplies and assistance in cutting through bureaucratic red tape help BP? Why was his administration actively stalling the effort to minimize shore damage?

No one expects President Obama to have the answer for how to stop the leak. They do expect him to appoint one person, preferably someone with some knowledge in engineering; not a lawyer, to be a governmental manager-in-charge. Someone who knows what resources are available and has the knowledge and authority to offer aid and answer questions from all the interested parties. Someone who will actually try to help those trying to stop the leak; as well as the governors and city mayors wanting to know what is being done, and what they can do to mitigate the damage to their coasts. This person would be a true go-to person; not one of the clowns from the President’s inner circle.

It is not too much to ask. The world has seen enough of the Keystone Cops. It is time to create a new quality within the Obama Administration: leadership.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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