The First 100 Days of Deepwater Horizon: Somebody Call Jack Bauer


From the Hill…

Our friends at the Heritage Foundation (who think Jack Bauer is a real person) have deployed multiple teams of energy, environment, homeland security and response experts to the Gulf to study the federal response to the oil spill. They have visited the areas hit hardest by the crisis. They’ve spoken with response workers, affected oil crews, fishermen, elected leaders and BP representatives. Their finding? President Obama has turned the spill an oil and water equivalent to making a mountain out of a molehill. And you know what? They’re not far off.

From a recent article issued by the foundation’s Web site:

BP is (very) slowly taking accountability for its creation of this crisis. Tony Hayward was finally dismissed as CEO, and they have promised full financial restitution for direct and indirect victims. On Day 100 of the spill, it’s time the Obama administration followed suit.

And what exactly does the administration have to be held accountable for? An environmental disaster made worse by federal incompetence. An unnecessary drilling moratorium that has pulled the plug on a Gulf economy already on life support. A claims process that was negotiated in secret, leaving few answers to why claims aren’t being processed and transparency is lost. A slow response that wasted clear weather days as hurricane season fast approaches, and a decision-making structure led by politics rather than duty.

Environmentally, the President and his eco-left echo chamber consciously chose to ignore the damage caused by the oil in favor of focusing on future tax increases that would expand government largess. The President’s initial push for cap-and-trade taxes as a response to an oil spill was so disconnected and oblivious that it was quickly brushed off by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Even so, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday cap-and-trade taxes were still possible this year if any energy legislation passes the Senate and the bill goes to conference.

Here are some details that are difficult to ignore: the administration assured us that we would not be paying for BP’s mistake at the gas pump, but the recent Reid-Boxer bill moving through the Senate indicates that increased taxes are inevitable and there will be a “drastic increase” in the price of oil per barrel.

Says Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “Carol Browner, President Obama’s White House Energy and Climate Czar, recently said she thinks only Big Oil, which would include BP and a few others, should be drilling in the Gulf. With the Reid-Boxer oil spill bill, that’s exactly what will happen. And with this legislation, President Obama’s Gulf energy moratorium will become a permanent moratorium that will destroy thousands of good-paying jobs, restrict America’s ability to produce energy, and make America more dependent on foreign oil.”

BP is claiming a tax deduction worth roughly $9.9 billion. Congressman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) went on record stating this development was “reprehensible.”

This backlash is taking on the kind of viral reach that seems rivaled only by the widespread push for Hope just two years ago, when we as a nation took a look at the current state of things and paved a new path with a presidential candidate named Barack Obama. That kind of credit can never last. Someone has to pay for it when it comes due. It was unrealistic, juvenile and cockeyed to posit that one man – a good, fair and excellent communicator – would be able to Fix Problems Now.

Has President Obama failed us in the Gulf? Not really, but his and First Lady Michelle’s glamorous, nearly placating photo-ops on the beach haven’t helped.

But that doesn’t mean things are going well there, either. On the Louisiana coastline, barriers were delivered but wouldn’t get installed until permits were drafted, agreed upon and issued – that’s a legislative issue that would have benefited from an executive call to action.

The Heritage Foundation would have us believe there’s a superhero who can help in our definite time of need, much the way that progressives did in 2008. Our Hope has warped and exaggerated the candidate Obama’s cure-all promises for actual change. Inspiring, but potentially empty, rhetoric during election season cannot translate into action on the scale that we assumed it would. This isn’t a TV show; there isn’t a quick fix.

But if you’re out there, Jack, we’d really, really appreciate it.

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in Christopher Correa’s weekly column, Hill/Street Greens, examining the environmental deeds (and misdeeds) of Washington, D.C. and Wall Street.

Image: John Griffiths