Government failures in Gulf blowout

Rob Bluey:

President Obama’s carefully scripted scheme to deflect blame for the Gulf oil spill is starting to crumble. A new report from the Center for Public Integrity puts the White House in the spotlight for its failure to acknowledge the government’s own role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Obama has repeatedly blamed BP for the spill, telling the nation in a televised Oval Office address on June 15: “We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused.” A day later he pressured BP to set aside $20 billion to pay economic damage to the region.

But in the critical first days after the explosion, the new report reveals 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.

Evidence unearthed by reporters Aaron Mehta and John Solomon shows 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."

...
Was the failure to properly fund the Coast Guard the reason for its inability to have a firefighting expert on the scene before the rig sank? It seems possible and at least needs further investigation. This administration has had skewed priorities that directed spending toward its constituency groups rather than toward urgent government needs, particularly in matters of national security.

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