Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Poll signals trouble for government oil spill response

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! Here's an interesting nugget in the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll regarding the BP oil spill: 45 percent of respondents think the government hasn't done enough in response to the spill, while 43 percent say it has done enough. The numbers are a bit worse for British Petroleum: 50 percent say the company has not done enough, while 37 percent think it has.

As that video above demonstrates, the spill remains one of those tricky situations where government has to rely on BP to cap the leak and can't step in to do the job itself. The longer that gash spews uncontrollably, the longer doubts about the government response will linger.

But the White House keeps reminding anyone who will listen that it's not only responding on the scene, but also working on policy solutions back in Washington. President Obama submitted legislation on Wednesday that would allow the government to accelerate assistance to impacted people and update the oil spill liability system.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu also visited Houston on Wednesday to meet with Energy Department staffers and other experts working on trying to cap the spill. Salazar and Chu also met again with BP company officials. NOAA has dispatched more resources to the Gulf and Salazar sent more National Park Service officials to Florida to deal with efforts to protect coastal communities and natural resources.

But deploying government officials and proposing legislation can only do so much to help. Keep tabs on forthcoming polls to see if the perceived response to the spill improves or worsens.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: How will the federal base realignment and closing plans affect your commute, if at all? Will it make your ride to work longer or shorter? E-mail your answers to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and please include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. We might include your response in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: Beau Biden expected to return to his AG job soon. Few clues in Elena Kagan's tenure to signal her views. Will Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) succeed Elena Kagan as solicitor general? A Q&A with U.S. Marshals Director John Clark. The head of the FBI’s New York office permanently reassigned to Washington. A Q&A with the head of the IRS whistleblower office.

CENSUS BUREAU:
Higher black voting rates in 2008 mostly occurred in South: The South was the only region in the country where the voting rate among blacks increased sizably from the 2004 election, from 59 percent to 66 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

FDA:
Walgreens won't sell over-the-counter genetic test after FDA raises questions: The company had planned to offer the Pathway Genomics test at more than 6,000 of its 7,500 stores nationwide beginning Friday, but reversed course after the agency questioned the test.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
House holds hearing on "Potty Parity": Read about it from the perspective of Dana Milbank and Joe Davidson.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Justice, SEC investigate Morgan Stanley's mortgage-related deals: The criminal probe is focused on whether the bank accurately represented to investors its role in mortgage-related deals it helped design but sometimes bet against, the sources said.

NASA:
Decline is seen in NASA’s research side: The decline of basic research at the agency jeopardizes its ability to study and explore the cosmos, according to a review panel.

Veteran astronauts oppose Obama's space-flight plans: The first and last Americans to walk on the moon argued the president's vision lacks specifics and proper review.

SEC:
Suit seeks names of SEC workers disciplined for viewing pornography on the job: A Denver attorney filed suit in federal court, accusing the agency of violating federal law by not disclosing the names of 33 current and former employees and contractors who viewed pornographic images while on the job

STATE DEPARTMENT:
State pleased with on-message Clinton-Karzai meetings: Mission accomplished, say Foggy Bottom folks.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT:
Federal budget deficit hits April record: The deficit soared to $82.7 billion in April, the largest imbalance for that month on record. That was significantly higher than last year's April deficit of $20 billion and above the $30 billion deficit private economists had anticipated.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 13, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Neil Armstrong, Eugene A. Cernan oppose Obama's NASA plans
Next: House panel approves military pay raise

Comments

"As that video above demonstrates, the spill remains one of those tricky situations where government has to rely on BP to cap the leak and can't step in to do the job itself. "

I don't get it Ed. How does the video demonstrate in any way that the federal government has to rely on BP in any way for containment? I think it's been a major error for the federal government not to try everything it can to contain the leak itself.

Posted by: crestfallenwassailing | May 13, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Can we trust the people in government? Ken Salazar says he'll break the Minerals Management Service into two agencies. Did Salazar make a mistake with Cape Wind and Oil? Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry told us early on in the Gulf spill "there is no leak." Landry was also in charge of the 2003 Bouchard Oil spill in Buzzards Bay which had low estimates by the Coast Guard that ended up with seven times that amount!

On April 27, 2003, eight years ago the Bouchard Barge B-120 hit an obstacle in Buzzards Bay, creating a 12-foot rupture in its hull and discharging an estimated 100,000 gallons of No. 6 oil. The oil is known to have affected an estimated 90 miles of shoreline, killing 450 numerous bird species the day it happened, and recreational use of the bay, such as shell fishing and boating.

Posted by: fnhaggerty | May 13, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Before the oil is drilled, I would expect the government in concert with the corporation to have a very detailed plan in the event of a catastrophe. So everybody would know their job and how the containment and clean up would proceed. So on the government side who is trained to do what and when and the same for the private corporation.

Did the government ever think an event "too big for a private corporation to handle" would arise some day? And then what? So it isn't just a case of making BP pay for the gusher, but also realizing their resources might not be up to the task?

I blame both Minerals Management and BP. This is exactly like the duel responsibility of the SEC, that let us down, and Wall Street that did the same.

Posted by: jkachmar | May 13, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The Offshore Drillers should be required to use Triple Redundant Safety systems as required in Oil Refineries. In this case only one Safety System was installed and it failed.

Hydraulic is fine as a First measure but again the Second could be a remote Activated System and if both should fail a third Manually Operated valve should be installed that can be closed by a maned or unmanned Submersible. They may not prevent some Spilling but they would greatly reduce the the amount and effects on the ecosystem.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | May 13, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

No one is saying what was said in the past. We have a bad government structure in this realm aside from the regulatory structure. Those who remember Katrina know that the Secretary of Homeland Security was never criticized. Everyone knew he was the meaningless head of a stupid holding company. Last week the secretary was nominally in charge of the Gulf mess, the politics of the Arizona immigration law and border, a bomb attempt in New York City, and the Nashville flood. She can be criticized for a few public relations blunders, but not for any actions or inactions. That range of responsibilities means that the Secretary can do nothing meaningful.

Posted by: jhough1 | May 13, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The GOP are always complaining that President Obama and the Democrats are doing TOO MUCH!

How were Democrats supposed to clean up by now all the HUGE MESS and the CULTURE OF CORRUPTION that developed during the Bush/Cheney administration? They were both involved in it up to their ears (Halliburton) with the plan to "drown the government."

The MMS corruption and lack of enforcement was terrible indeed, and it was thought after the scandal that it had been cleaned up. Obama could not be expected to reform everything in year 1 and 1/4. But we do need to totally reform that agency now and do a thorough review by special commission of all government regulating bodies to make sure they are doing their jobs without corruption.

Posted by: baileywick | May 13, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

This is a catastrophe in slow motion, and all the federal government can do is hold Senate hearings and defer to the expertise of the oil industry? Really? How many administrations, how many political parties, how many branches and agencies of the federal government need to demoralize, decimate and destroy the people of Louisiana and the Gulf coast by sheer inaction before we all realize that no one cares. No one. At least not enough to DO SOMETHING.

Republican or Democrat, Federal, State or local - our governments are embarrassments and frauds. We can depend on them for nothing.

Posted by: seabelly1 | May 13, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

ddoiron1, I guess you're arguing that this is not too risky and we have the technology to continue with such enterprises as deep sea oil drilling. I hope you're right in case the government continues to allow such practices but please consider joining with me in putting a moratorium on them for an indefinite period.

fnhaggerty, no we absolutely can not trust the government to act either to prevent or to contain the damage from such spills. We can't trust either private industry or the government and that's why this sort of drilling should be banned. '

Thank you for exposing the shameful ineptitude and passivity of Rear Admiral Mary Landry. She should be fired and so should President Obama who as the primary executive in charge should have been more pro-active in containing it and who should also have been more knowledgeable about the risks before he allowed it. Not only did he allow it to happen, he advocated for expanding it and repeated the lies of Governor Jindal and Senator McCain that Katrina caused no oil spills.

Posted by: crestfallenwassailing | May 13, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs to get his head on straight regarding oil drilling! Jane, the host of "Issues" on CNN headline news channel believes we should definitely stop all this. I agree!!!!

Posted by: DeniseHubbard | May 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Come on, we know why some think the Government didn't do enough...it is Republicans mad that Bush was blamed for Katrina and this is their chance to blame Obama for something

As a New Orleans native, there isn't a single objective soul in New Orleans who blames Obama a single bit for his reaction in this event. Nobody.

Posted by: Bious | May 13, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

BLACK CLOTH SHOULD BE DRAPED OVER THE DOI MISSION STATEMENT--

"Our Mission: Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future
The U.S. Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future."

Just where is the investigation on the Department of the Interior? I don't see Secretary Salazar cowboying-up to the responsibility his department has for this tragedy.

Posted by: JonFox1 | May 13, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

What does anyone expect the government to do that hasn't already be done? The previous administration dropped the ball as far as regulations, eliminating some and looking the other way as far as violations of others. It sounds like that will be changing.

The companies responsible for the mess should also be responsible for ALL the expenses involved in cleaning it up and in compensating those whose incomes have been affected. Should the government shoulder the costs and then spend years trying to get the companies to reimburse those costs? Lots of luck with that.

Regulations, enforcement, and some serious thinking is what's needed by the government for the future. For now, what the government needs to do is make sure the responsible companies are held to their responsibilities. If the government knows of any person or company that might be able to come up with a solution, the responsible parties should be informed and then hire the potential problem-solvers on their dime.

The government IS doing what it should be doing. The question for concern is are the responsible companies doing all they should do?

Posted by: 2daysnews | May 14, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

What does anyone expect the government to do that hasn't already be done? The previous administration dropped the ball as far as regulations, eliminating some and looking the other way as far as violations of others. It sounds like that will be changing.

The companies responsible for the mess should also be responsible for ALL the expenses involved in cleaning it up and in compensating those whose incomes have been affected. Should the government shoulder the costs and then spend years trying to get the companies to reimburse those costs? Lots of luck with that.

Regulations, enforcement, and some serious thinking is what's needed by the government for the future. For now, what the government needs to do is make sure the responsible companies are held to their responsibility. If the government knows of any person or company that might be able to come up with a solution, the responsible parties should be informed and then hire the potential problem-solvers on their dime.

The government IS doing what it should be doing. The question for concern is are the responsible companies doing all they should do?

Posted by: 2daysnews | May 14, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Bious, I question YOUR objectivity. Clearly, I'm not a Republican because I called attention, in my comment above, to Obama parroting what Republicans had said in ignoring the past real oil spills in the Gulf, when Obama was advocating for expansion of offshore drilling. It seems to me Bious, you want to make Democrats out to be the heroes of the environment regardless of how badly they actually cope with environmental issues in real life. If it makes you feel better, I'll concede that Republicans are no better and perhaps a lot worse than Democrats when it comes to protecting the environment.

To anyone who says the government is and has been doing enough, I only want to point out that three weeks have gone by while this pipe that's gushing tens of thousands of gallons of oil every day hasn't been plugged up and so far, the government has been leaving it up to BP entirely to be responsible for stopping the gushing. To no avail. That's just a very simple fact. Hopefully, Obama will change course with his press conference today.

I'm still waiting for the author of this article to explain how this video indicates in any way that the government "has to rely on BP and can't step in and do the job itself."

I'm waiting for your response to me, Ed O'Keefe.

Posted by: crestfallenwassailing | May 14, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

2daysnews, okay, fair question yours - what does anyone expect the government to do that hasn't already been done? Let me try to answer it a little bit: I expect the government to be using its own resources to try to stop the gushing, both in coordination with BP and also by itself. I expect both the government's resources and its expertise are considerably greater than BP's. The short answer is: I expect our government to stop the gushing and if it can't stop the gushing I expect it to contain the spill. Different proposals have been offered for how to contain the spill. One I fancy at the moment is the oil corral / permeable cone. But I'm not the expert. I just want the government to address the heart of the problem directly and make every effort to stop the gushing. On top of that, I want it to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling indefinitely. These are perfectly reasonable requests.

Posted by: crestfallenwassailing | May 14, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

As this environmental disaster of epic proportions drags on – with the dire consequences yet to be fully determined and realized – the U.S. government needs to take a more urgent and heavy-handed approach to the clean up. And not publicly designate a company already being accused by many as grossly negligent and incompetent as the primary organization responsible for saving the environment.

Sure, some of this is posturing and our government is letting BP know it has a lot of liability in the matter.

But this oil spill has already spun way too far out of control, and it’s starting to seem like nobody knows what to do or how to stop it.

http://philiptortora.blogspot.com/2010/05/shouldnt-us-government-have-more.html

Posted by: PhilipTortora | May 16, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company