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More on the Presidential Failure in the Gulf

Sunday, May 2, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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A shake-up in the chain of federal command underscores that the response of the Obama Adminstration to the calamity in the Gulf has been at first indifferent, then confused, and now panicky. The post below and Friday’s broadcast brought this email:

You are correct about the BP spill. The response has been grossly inadequate. This is inexplicable. The National Contingency Plan (40 CFR 300) and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) put the federal government in charge of an oil spill. Yes BP is the responsible party (RP) but the RP pays for the spill response. The NCP requires the use of unified command with the RP, the affected state and the federal On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) as the Incident Commanders. In this case the Coast Guard is the OSC. You don’t waste time pinning everything on the RP. The NCP requires one response organization and the RP is a part of that. You can’t separate the RP from the OSC. For the DHS Secretary to blame them shows her ignorance of the policies her own department is supposed to follow.

The type of things we’re seeing go wrong with this spill are the types of things that used to happen prior to OPA 90. This is simply inexcusable.

The C-130s will arrive shortly? Where are the USCG C-130s that USCG Air Station Clearwater has? They practice using dispersants and every big oil spill exercise has this as part of the scenario.

The Coast Guard has consistently underestimated the size of the spill. This is perplexing. The USCG oil spill training program emphatically says not to do this. In the Cosco Busan spill they did that and the Commanding Officer got fired Why they are doing this now is impossible to explain. Everyone knows not to do this.

Charles Krauthammer and I discussed the incompetence of the Obama Adminstration on Friday’s show. The transcript is here. Here is one key exchange on the delay of the C-1303:

HH: Let me play for you a little bit of Janet Napolitano today, one key line. I was watching it on JetBlue, so I got to watch the whole thing. And here’s one line that struck in my ear.

JN: The Secretary of Defense has approved a request for two C-130 aircraft to dispense oil-dispersing chemicals capable of covering up to 250 acres per flights, with three flights per aircraft per day. They are currently en route to the affected areas. The Coast Guard has requested additional assistance from the Department of Defense.

HH: Now Charles, if we assume that this matters, that it is an important thing that these C-130s are dropping oil-dispersing chemicals at a rate of three flights per days, and each one covering 250 acres, the second question is, well, where have they been until now?

CK: Right, and why only two?

HH: That’s the other question.

CK: I mean, only two. This is the disaster that’s going to be. And if you look at what the Exxon Valdez did, how it devastated the economy and the ecology at least for a decade or so in Alaska, and where they still find oil under the surface of the ground, this is going to be, if this goes along the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi to Florida, it’s going to devastate all those wetlands and all the economies, the fishermen, the tourism and all that, that depends on it. You’d want to get everything out there. I mean, you’d want to really deploy, and again, I think that is probably where the criticism is going to be…..

Read the whole thing. And Doug Ross has an illustrated timeline very much worth reviewing.

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