• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Is the Government to Blame for Oil Spill?

    The White House has some tough questions to answer about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in light of a new report from the Center for Public Integrity. In the critical first days after the explosion, the U.S. Coast Guard disregarded its own firefighting policy and might have caused the oil rig to sink — prompting the leak that resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

    New evidence unearthed by reporters Aaron Mehta and John Solomon reveals the cash-strapped Coast Guard broke its own rules and didn’t have a firefighting expert on the scene to oversee the private boats battling the blaze. There’s an ongoing investigation to determine if the salt water sprayed on the burning oil rig caused it to sink.

    “[T]he question of what caused the platform to collapse into the Gulf … remains unanswered and could prove vital to ongoing legal proceedings and congressional investigations,” the article states. “That is because the riser pipe from which the majority of BP’s oil spewed did not start leaking until after the rig sank.”

    These new details put the spotlight on the White House, which has repeatedly pinned the blame on BP. If it turns out the Coast Guard is at fault — either because it didn’t follow proper procedures or couldn’t respond adequately because of a lack of resources — the public has a right to know why we’re just now learning this information 100 days after the disaster began.

    The crippling budget cuts President Obama proposed for the Coast Guard also deserve a closer examination. Obama’s spending plan reduced the blue water fleet by a full one-third, slashed 1,000 personnel, five cutters, and several aircraft, including helicopters. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Coast Guard updated its official maritime rescue manual — advising against firefighting aboard a rig — just seven months before the Deepwater Horizon explosion. That change in policy came at a time when Adm. Thad Allen warned the budget cuts threated to turn the Coast Guard into a “hollow force.”

    An earlier report from Mehta and Solomon also raised important questions that White House has yet to answer about what Obama knew when. That investigation revealed the White House timeline of events failed to acknowledge an oil leak until four days after the explosion, even though the Coast Guard’s timeline reported a leak one day after explosion.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Is the Government to Blame for Oil Spill?

    1. mark w houston, tx says:

      There is nothing the fire fighting boats could do to try to save anyone on the rug. THE GAS Blew it up with such force it had already fractured the structure. As a expert in Fire Fighting, I do need to say there could have been foam used to drench the places where people could have hidden, and better placement of the lines too. But who is to say they aren't also trying to move the well away from the pipe system so it doesn't sink right over the frill hole. AND YES THE USCG has been A PIO and not a COAST GUARD

    2. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      The USCG would not take any action without prior orders from someone in the Obama administration. The USCG has continued to stop and/or slow-down clean-up and preventive measures suggest by experts on site. Again, on someone orders. Who and why? Obama has used this "crises" to push Crap and Tax (that BP partly wrote) plus ordered a moratorium to stop all offshore drilling, which would force drilling rig to move overseas, thus have no rigs available after the moratorium. Knowing what this administration is capable of, would it not be consistant that a well placed saboteur could have been placed onboard the Deepwater Horizen with instructions to "screw-up" the hydraulics of the BOP, thus prevented operation, after the well blew-out, and the rig sunk, which may have been caused by the USCG. All questions that must be addressed but will never be answered by this Obama administration.

    3. LCdr. James T McIlva says:

      One of the best schools I ever attended in the Navy was fire fighting school as an Ensign. There we learned that you NEVER fight a class B (petroleum based) fire with water! Example: extinguishing a grease fire on the stove top.

      They pumped enough water on this floating drilling platform to sink it. This caused the well casing to break at the bottom and damage the blowout preventer, which then failed.

      Yes, the majority of the blame for this disaster rests squarely on the shoulders of the Federal Government

    4. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 7.29.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    5. Charlie, Louisiana says:

      Before the "unsinkable" rig sank, within the first 24 hours when you can plainly see that the volume of water being applied was 1/10th that needed to have an effect on that many Btu,,, (pun intended) they should have put a collar on the riser at 300-feet down, cabled to 3 big GPS capable ocean-going tugs arranged 120° apart and able to support the 500,000 pounds. Then, cut the riser off at -290' and pulled the burning rig away. Now, all that oil would have been concentrated near the surface, easy to skim and no dispersant needed. Then, they could have used regular divers at that depth to install a new BOP and shut her in.

      As to the USCG contributing to the loss directly, I doubt it. It was still within the pervue of the company at that time. One reason this did happen was BP's mistaken belief that the rig "could not sink". Remind you of 1912, 98 years ago to the month, when another "unsinkable" vessel from the British Isles sank 'neath the waves of the north Atlantic. Titanic.

    6. Charlie, Louisiana says:

      To the commentor who mentions a "petroleum fire". This it was not. Literally 10 to 30 Million cuft per day of Natural Gas fed this thing. It was entirely appropriate to TRY to apply water to keep it cool and prevent steel from reaching the modulus of failure. They failed. Since the rig was enclosed, "they" didn't flood it and sink it. Hulls where breached by temperatures in excess of 1,800 F° and this allowed air-over diesel in the legs to leak out. Bouancy lost,,, it sank. If you know how these rigs are designed, then it makes sense. This is not a Federal thing. I was 31 years a Fed in Oil and Gas. BP owns it believing the Trans Ocean rig was unsinkable. Sorry. It was. Oh, and the BOP failed long before it sank. Drill string collars at the blind ram will be discovered in the post mortem,,, IF we get the BOP retrieved. DO NOT let BP use the static kill to claim the BOP must remain down there… It will reveal much.

    7. injustice4all says:

      I was having drinks with a bp lawyer at the club a month or so. He told me that Heyward will be let go right after they got it capped made the fall guy, then they would blame it on the Government and an overactive media. Looks like we are at stage two now. and of course the Heritage Foudation is getting paid to help the BP PR machine. Big surprise, LOL Hope they pay you well.

    8. Pingback: Oil Spill Job Search

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×