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  • Live from the Gulf: Obama's Oil Spill To-Do List

    On June 30, The Heritage Foundation released a list of ten actions President Obama could immediately take to make a positive impact on the increasingly overwhelming Gulf oil spill. Since then, there has been some action on two of the items. The skimmer known as “A-Whale” is finally being tested in the Gulf, despite harsh weather. In fact, when weather was at its worst, the A-Whale was the only ship able to remain offshore, which is a promising sign. We hope the tests continue to prove its value and the ship is deployed as soon as possible. The State Department also announced some foreign assistance, but has yet to give a reason why it’s refusing other offers or why delays continue to hamper efforts.

    The Obama administration continues to offer no visible signs that they are taking the oil spill seriously. Just today, their big announcement was that First Lady Michelle Obama would visit the region, soon, in the next couple weeks, maybe mid-July. The attitude of this White House is clear – ‘we don’t care’. To see for ourselves the potential damage of their inattention, we sent a team of energy, environment, homeland security and response experts to the Gulf. Within a few hours of landing in Louisiana, it was evident; the federal government is simply asleep at the switch when it comes to responding to this disaster. Our team was in Baton Rouge getting briefed by the National Guard, talking to officials in St. Bernards and Lafourche parishes, touring Port Fourchon, Grand Isle and more. As we collect information over the next few days, we will share our findings with you on The Foundry. Below are some items we plan to add to President Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List:

    1. End the Oil Drilling Moratorium…Really: Although lifting the moratorium was one of our initials tasks for the White House, it is a priority for those in the Gulf, and needs to be repeated, often. This is their economic way of life, and this was made clear by the Lafourche Port Commission, where 90 percent of the deepwater rigs are serviced. Lafourche has already been forced to cut rental rates 30 percent because of the moratorium and although federal judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued an injunction that would block the White House’s offshore drilling ban, the uncertainty of another ban from the Obama administration is keeping these rigs idle. Worse, four have already left and more could be headed out soon as they actively market their services elsewhere. Lifting the moratorium is causing the Gulf to suffer much more than it has to economically. It’s a priority for them to lift the ban and it needs to be a priority for the administration. The offshore drilling moratorium also means less money is coming into the state; money that would be used for coastal restoration – as written in a Louisiana state constitutional amendment. There is a long-term plan established to restore Louisiana’s coast and build its marshes, but without the revenue received from offshore drilling, it won’t be done.

    2. Assign a High-Level Federal Official to Oversee the Disaster: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 was not set up for an oil spill of this magnitude. Consequently, we see ineffective management and circular and conflicting decisions being made among BP, the Coast Guard, the Fish and Wildlife Services and the Mineral Management Services – to name a few. Decision makers are afraid to make a decision one way or another, and when a decision is made, it’s contested by someone else. Sharing of the top-management decision-making breeds inaction. Assigning a high-level federal official to oversee the disaster will remove some of the bureaucracy and amending the OPA will ensure management sharing does not happen again, if another spill of this magnitude were to occur. A top level political official accountable to the people and who holds significant White House influence is now necessary.

    3. Save the Marshes, Wetlands, Lakes and Estuaries: Plans to protect the coastline’s fragile environment from the oil spill by building rock jetties, dykes and sand berms have been continually rejected due to fears that it will damage the coastline and the wildlife, as well as permitting delays and red tape. There needs to be a greater priority in protecting the environment and people of the Gulf. Rock jetties, dykes and sand berms can be built up, and then they can be taken down when they are no longer needed – and BP should pay for this in its entirety. Even so, the government has offered no alternatives of how to protect oil from spreading inland, which would not only affect the people but precious marshlands. And when the oil does get into those marshlands, the BP-contracted company to manage the clean up nixed any ideas of cleaning the marshes for fear that stepping on the oil will bury it deeper into the marshes. Shallow water vessels would be effective at cleaning up the marshes but thus far has been rejected. The local experts with knowledge of the area want to protect and clean the marshes. If they aren’t allowed to do so, they should be told why and they should be given alternatives so the people and the environment do not suffer further. The government needs to approve projects immediately and streamline the permitting process.

    4. Make the Claims Process Transparent: BP has said it will pay for those indirectly affected by the oil spill. The claims process should be set up in a way that ensures people receive what they are owed and not receive what they do not deserve. The claims process needs to be efficient and transparent. Currently, states don’t have adequate visibility on claims. They simply get data on numbers and dollars, leaving them unable to know if their constituencies are being addressed.

    5. Allow the Entrepreneurs to Help: The Environmental Protection Agency and the administration have been way too risk averse in allowing help to clean up the oil. Not only are groups and organizations being sent letters of rejection or told to sit idle in the water to make sure the technology is EPA-approved, it is reducing the incentive for people to even bring ideas to the table. We need to be less risk averse when cleaning the oil up. Allow the technologies that can effectively clean the oil up to do so and then expand that technology. Get the ones that fail out of the water.

    Lack of response, lack of coordination, and lack of explanation were the themes resonating from meetings today in Louisiana. The mission of the trip is to bring back to-do items to make our administration respond more adequately to such an economic and environmental disaster. What we heard is that the administration is not truly focused on the problem at hand but instead focused on bureaucratic process. This has to change, and if the administration is to save any credibility that they are capable of managing a disaster, the president needs to start acting.

    Our Live from the Gulf series is brought to you by our team of energy, environment, homeland security and response experts:

    James Carafano: Deputy Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies
    Jack Spencer: Policy Director, Energy and Environment, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies
    Nick Loris: Research Assistant, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies
    Rory Cooper: Director of Strategic Communications

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    20 Responses to Live from the Gulf: Obama's Oil Spill To-Do List

    1. William J. Lizarraga says:

      Hello, Mr.Dellinger, My name is William J. Lizarraga I would like to join your foundation CLS. I am a Christian and my prioritys is my relationship with christ.

      Second is my family. As I was on C-span I spoke to Nancy with the frequency Interruption. When I was praying there was an earth quake. I need a christian foundation to represent me.

      Thank You,

      William J. Lizarraga

    2. Barbara P., Charlest says:

      I always hate to blame on malice what can actually be explained by sheer incompetence, but the government is apparently actively hampering attempts by many different entities to help the people in the Gulf regions. We really need to examine this situation closely and try to discern who profits from what is happening and who stands to gain if things in the Gulf don't get fixed. I believe that it always pays to follow the money. Somebody is profiting from this dreadful situation. Your expert team needs to pay close attention to that factor when they go there.

    3. Pingback: Live Update From Louisiana: Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List | Plug The Bleeping Hole

    4. George Colgrove, Arl says:

      I am not sure I would put a high level Federal Employee/Official in charge of this. I think this requires a point person and a team who have professional experience in the private sector to coordinate all components necessary to stop the leak and clean up the mess. Government Officials have yet to prove they have the experience, will, and determination to see a quick end to any crisis. So long as the crisis last, Federal Employees at any level, who are otherwise idle will win. It is the desire of the private sector to get this dealt with quickly and efficiently – something government is not capable of.

    5. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      It's hard to understand that most people still don't get it! The Federal Government,

      i.e. Obama, is deliberatly hindering or stopping the clean-up effort. I live down here. I see and listen to our local politicians everyday who continue to point out

      what should and must be done to stop oil from destroying our environment, our marshes, and our estuaries. Obama, through his pawns the EPA, USFWS, USCG, and enviornmental radicals, as well as others, has blocked almost every attempt for local actions to be impleminted. Instead, Obama sends down a few of his hit-men to shut-up these local voices bu using intimidation and threats.

      Now, he has stopped the national news media from getting close to the problems by putting restriction the distances at which they can approach and photograph the oil and the booms.

      Regardless of what he does from this point forward, the damage has been done!

      And still, no one is connecting the dots between Obama, BP, George Soros,

      and "never let a crisis go to waste.

    6. J Ellen Hedblom says:

      Your suggestions seem appropriate and reasonable. This morning's Fox News reported that the Obama administration is returning to the court requesting another ban on oil drilling in the Gulf on the basis that another oil spill would be unmanageable for them. This despite the fact that we've been drilling for decades without mishap until our current BP problem. This administration's thinking is always to protect itself and ignore resident, business and citizen interests.

      Can we also conclude this is another example of their efforts to destroy the economy for socialistic positioning? Suspicion and distrust are now entrenched in my analysis of their every move. UGH!

    7. Andre New Jersey says:

      The Obama Admin, is lending 2 billion I think to a Brazilian oil company, so this moratorium, I think is just part of that as the oil rigs will end up leaving if it is not lifted. The Government is the one to gain here and big time.

    8. WM, La says:

      I still think that the BP and the government did not address the real issue from the beginning. It was to stop the oil leak not siphon oil from a broken well. The oil spill and the dispersant have hindered the livelihoods of many people along the Gulf Coast. The longer this catastrophe drags on the more damage it done.

    9. Barb Ramirez says:

      I personally think that Obama is not fixing the situation because he is following the United Nation's Agenda 21..which calls for the eventual elimination of private property rights. If this land is allowed to be contaminated horribly, (which he is allowing..) then it could be declared off limits to humans. Agenda 21 calls for about fifty percent of U.S. lands to be made off limits to humans, so we can all be jammed into government ' sustainable villages.' So big brother can control our every move more easily. Do a search on agenda 21 and check it out.

    10. Pingback: BP News

    11. Pingback: Oil Spill News

    12. Gregory B, MD says:

      I think another aspect of this is that the moratorium is only for the U.S. There are other countries that have rigs in the region off the coast of Cuba I believe or are building rigs as we speak. Does anyone here have anything concrete information about this? The point is if the moratorium is kept then we are only hurting ourselves if other countries are collecting resources close to our shores. I think Bobby Jindal is doing a great job. It is a shame that there are those in congress criticizing him for "not doing enough for his state".

    13. Steven (Dallas Texas says:

      It's simple; "Never let a good crisis go to waste." It's sad to say that this is deliberate. His agenda can only progress under a crisis situation. Just keep in mind that November is coming. GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

    14. Dr. Gregory Solovief says:

      It is beyond frustrating to watch the keystone cops attempts to stop this spill,and the Big Government/Obama administration obstruction of every move by Louisiana and the other affected states to protect their shoreline and wetlands.I think this truly was an accident,and that the cause will be found eventually.This is analogous to a plane crash.The government's attempt to ban drilling in the gulf is analogous to closing down aviation indefinitely after an plane crash,and speaks to their bad faith.The obstruction of shoreline protection and cleanup efforts seems malevolent to me,especially in light of the apparent disinterest the administration is showing in the entire scenario.

    15. DSM Chico, Californi says:

      All of the talk and inspection of problems is not going to do anything but advertize the fact the the Obama Administration is not interested in solving any of the major problems that he has created. Barack Obama's policy is to use these problems as an excuse to create more problems, until he and his handlers have destroyed the United States.

      There is just one problem with this program! It will not work! The process used by these Userpers works in most democratic countries of the world. But the United States is a Republic. The power of government is derived from the people! The people will awake! The tiger will awake! Stop talking and listen!

    16. Liz, Maryland says:

      Can somebody explain why clean-up workers are working just 20 minutes for each hour?

      Every day I become more convinced this president is intentionally bringing what is left of this economy to its knees simply to elevate his power.

    17. George Gewehr,Tucson says:

      Just listen to Rush and watch Beck and you'll get all of the info you need. George Soros is behind this. Is it done on purpose? I think so. WHY !!! because Soros has $900 hundred million invested in Petrobas oil company in Brazil. Like one person said, follow the money.

    18. Nancy, Colorado says:

      Surely you understand this is to bring down America. Look it up to brankrupt us so we will become part of the NWO this is what all the leaders are waiting for they say it is the only way to get control of us in America. They also, admit that we are easy ones because we wont fight back so they will be able to bankrupt us. Then they will have control of everything we do and say. Do you know about the FEMA camps. Looks like HITLER if you do not you need to study it. There is approximatly 800 in the U.S. waiting for us. God have mercy on us.

    19. Paul Thompson says:

      This president is the most clueless inexperienced person I have seen since Jimmy Charter.They know what the problems are. Faulty Hydraulic hose, rubber seals were blown out and the BOP was not functioning properly. The ban on drilling is for the lefties who are clueless also. I do suppy plenty of equiptment to the oil companies. Obama decided since the courts rejected his ban that he would not allow any work to go forward. They are useing the Dept. of Mines and Minerals to reject all work permits in the gulf of Mexico.Drilling is and will be nonexsistant if left up to this group of morons. Obama is an evil godless person. He is the least expeirenced person in any room he walks into.He is a proffesional reader. without a written script he can add nothing to any coversation

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