President Obama said today that BP is responsible for what’s estimated to be the worst oil spill in U.S. history, but the federal government is telling the company how to fix the situation. It’s the feds who approved the so-called “Top Kill” approach yesterday that engineers now say is working to stop the oil spill that began April 20 and has killed 11 workers.
Why work with BP at all? Obama said the very folks who created the problem have the technology and expertise to fix it and the government doesn’t.
In one of those politicians-say-the-most-obvious-things moments, Obama acknowledged the special place oil corporations have in DC: “The oil industry’s cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship with government regulators meant little or no regulation at all.” He said he’ll separate the folks who give oil companies permits from those who oversee the industry’s safety issues. The top oil regulator Elizabeth Birnbaum already got the ax.
Obama’s hitting pause on exploratory deep-water rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for the next six months and also in Alaska, where Shell is arguing (we’re not kidding) that they should be ok’d for drilling because they’re going in shallow waters.
As a friendly business service reminder, Obama said all but three beaches in the Gulf Coast are open for tourists and their dolares. But we’ll recommend you check out Julianne Ong Hing’s report on what the Vietnamese families are experiencing in the area and put your money with the community groups making a difference on the ground.
Photo: Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton