• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Senate Report Criticizes Administration for Flawed Federal Response to Oil Spill

    A new report from the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee details startling facts about the Obama administration’s failed leadership in response to the Gulf oil spill, the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

    Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released a report aptly named, “Failure of Leadership: President Obama and the Flawed Federal Response to the BP Disaster.”

    Inhofe’s report details the many ways in which “…administration officials failed in several instances to remove regulatory and bureaucratic impediments and to ensure that proper and adequate resources were brought to bear in addressing the BP disaster.”

    The report lays out four specified areas in which the president’s failures are most evident.

    • Assistance: As the Macondo well leaked a total of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, the White House failed to react quickly or urgently. In his first public address, Obama assured the nation, “I’m not going to rest … or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.” Despite Obama’s apparent sincerity, his actions spoke louder than words. Instead of using his executive power to cut through bureaucratic red tape and thrust ideas into results, he established a partisan commission to investigate the cause of the spill.
    • Skimmers: After the explosion, there were 2,000 available skimmers in the United States. Specifically, there were 850 in the Gulf coast, Texas and Florida, yet only 108 were in use. When Sen. George Lemieux (R-FL) asked where the other 742 skimmers were, he was told a range of answers from, “some are obligated to be in other places in case there is an oil spill” to “they are legally constrained.” Obama also refused to waive the Jones Act, easing the way for foreign vessels to help.
    • Dispersants: The EPA’s management of dispersants was “unfocused, and its communications about their safety and effectiveness was contradictory — all of which created confusion about their use.” While dispersants were finally used in order to prevent oil from reaching the shores, the federal government wrestled to assist BP with use of the dispersants in the early stages of the spill.
    • Workplace rules: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prevented legal and operational flexibility that was needed for quick and efficient response efforts. For example, OSHA mandated short, 20-minute clean-up shifts for workers, and required an extensive 40-hour training course for potential supervisors. Other ridiculous constraints can be found in OSHA’s “Heat Stress Management Plan,” all of which were strongly opposed by local officials and workers alike.

    In a video Inhofe released in conjunction with the report, he concludes, “Sadly, the reality in Washington is that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress were more anxious to exploit the disaster in an attempt to pass their liberal agenda than to respond to the Gulf tragedy.”

    The proof is in the pudding. Obama and his administration failed to take the necessary steps to react quickly, efficiently and thoroughly and instead added to the complications of the spill by failing to act, keeping unnecessary regulations in place and instead formulating how the spill could behoove their liberal environmental agenda.

    Kristin Gilbart is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Senate Report Criticizes Administration for Flawed Federal Response to Oil Spill

    1. Jim, Hemet CA says:

      A very good summary. I know your parents are proud.

    2. Steve Conlon says:

      An outstanding analysis of the many problems we face as a nation, given that many in the electorate refuse to assure their children are taught the menacing, and deadly, nature of tyrants throughout history. Coming from a writer in your "Young Leaders Program" gives me hope that we will NOT go quietly into the night, as these interlopers desire of us all to do. Their generation has the most to lose in this fight and it's refreshing to read that against those who will, "do their worst", they will "do their best", as Winston Churchill stated during England's darkest moments.

      Kudos on a great analysis, Kristin.

      Stephen Conlon

      Charlotte, NC

    3. Ralph Cara coza, Jr. says:

      Great article, great research, great at telling the facts. President Obama and his entire adminstration has not only failed the Gulf region, but the entire nation for not only misrepresentiong the facts, but his cavalier response and his attitude about the Gulf oil spil. It was obvious that at his top of his list of priorities were the protection of the unions for his failure to remove the regulatory and bureaucratic impediments to stop proper and adequate resources in helping the nation of this unprecedented national disaster. Again…great job Kristin.

    4. James Nakakihara, Te says:

      Miss. Gilbart,

      Nice article and good food for thought. I fear though that in spite of the truth of the matter, the blame will never be publically attached to this administration. Somehow it must be Bush's fault, right? I mean, the current President inherited the oil well and if he had his way it would never had been built in the first place. OK, so I'm a bit cynical. Hopefully we all learned some lessons from this tragic accident.

      Good work, your parents should be proud of you.

    5. Evie Wilson, Maripos says:

      Way to go Kristin!

    6. Jim Horn, California says:

      This is an fine article based on facts that the liberal pinheads really don't like to see, and won't want to acknowledge.

    7. Jim Walker Simi Vall says:

      Great article, very well written. Your Young Leaders Program has some real talent involved in it. Good job Kristen.

    8. Pingback: LiberalsSpeakOut.com

    9. Erin Davig, Pelham, says:

      It is so depressing to see how our government is becoming less and less "of the people, by the people, for the people". Instead, it is all about special interest and what is best for the person in office and spin – not what is best for the people of our nation – every single one of them.

    10. Paul Terry Stone says:

      The response to the oil spill crisis is probably the best indication that our government does not operate in the country's interests and is the worst enemy that the United States has.

    11. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      It's becoming more and more difficult to understand that so many of those that

      have the power of the press in our conservative ranks still don't realize that

      Obama did not "fail" in his oil spill response. His actions and non-actions were

      deliberately designed to allowed justication for his Cap and Trade bill as well

      as imposing his drilling moratorium. He refused foreign help in the first week to make sure enough oil reached shores so the left-wing press had more to report on. He used government agencies such as USCG, USFWS, and OSHA as pawns to, in many cases, hinder and prevent measures that would have helped in the clean-up. He came down here for photo opts and lied stright to the faces of the local political leaders. Some actually were foolish enough to believe his lies. Now, most realize how he screwed over us, but it just may be too late. We all must understand that nothing Obama does is "failure". It is all deliberate.

    12. Drew Page, IL says:

      The oil spill was no more Obama's fault than Katrina was bush's fault. In both cases the federal responses left a lot to be desired. Let's stop the blame game and start planning for our own safety and security.

      There is no way any country, including the U.S., can deal with a disaster (whether natural or man-made) in a way that is satisfactory to all those affected. There are literally millions of people who have chosen to live along the San Andreas fault line in the West. In the event of a massive earthquake hundreds of thousands could be killed and injured, millions left homeless, without food, water, power, sanitation facilities or medical help. Now just exactly what is the President of any political party supposed to do? He/she can't raise the dead, heal the injured or replace the homes, jobs, income, security and lifestyles of all those affected. And yet, some people seem to have this childish, totally unrealistic expectation that with a wave of a magic wand, all the bad things can be reversed and everything can go back to "normal" in a couple of days.

      It has been said, again and again, that a cataclysmic earthquake will happen along the San Andreas fault. It's not a matter of "if"; it's a matter of when. It's one of the reasons I chose not live there. But others have and they can't say they weren't warned. So what are the contingency plans of the Democrats, or the Republicans? More to the point, what are the contingency plans of the residents?

    13. Brad Stevenson says:

      Nice job Kristin. Home run

    14. Kaye O'Mara Nor says:

      Kristin, you give me HOPE as a leader for our next generation! Well written statements, so proud of you as your parents are, especially your mother :)

      Your Friend,

      Kaye O'Mara

      Be Blessed

    15. Kaye O'Mara 232 says:

      Kristin, you give me HOPE as a leader for our next generation! Well written statements, so proud of you as your parents are, especially your mother

      Your Friend,

      Kaye O’Mara

      Be Blessed

    16. Kaye O'Mara 232 says:

      Kristin, you give me HOPE as a leader for our next generation! Well written statements, so proud of you as your parents are, especially your mother

      Be Blessed

    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.

    ×