“Even though I am President of the United States my powers are not limitless,” Obama said last Friday at Camardelle’s Live Bait and Boiled Seafood, “So I can’t dive down there and plug the hole. I can’t suck it up with a straw. All I can do is make sure that I put honest, hardworking, smart people in place.”
Well no, you can't suck it up with a straw. But here are a few glaringly obvious things you could do, or could have been doing since the leak was discovered on April 24:
- Order BP to secure vacuuming supertankers, similar to or the same ones as those used by the Saudis in previous spills in another Gulf half a world away. This technology can collect, process and transport millions of gallons of oil per day, and could have made a huge dent in the amount of crude that reaches the shore.
- You should have used the in-situ burn process, just like your spill response plan called for. You know... the plan approved in 1994 and designed for rapid response? Burning oil at sea would have prevented millions more gallons of oil from reaching the shore, but you didn't even have the booms required for execution of the plan within 500 miles of the coast.
- Allow state governors to take whatever measures they deem necessary and appropriate to protect their coasts. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had the opportunity to keep some of the oil out of the sensitive marshes of the Mississippi River Delta using sand berms dredged from the bottom of the nearby Gulf. The US Army Corps of Engineers sat on the Section 404 permit for weeks, and oil slathered the marshes. Alabama Governor Bob Riley complained loudly that the federal government was taking too long to deliver needed materials. Let these men do their jobs, already.
- Get the Congress to plug the damned hearings until the leak is stopped. Holding hearing after hearing after hearing while oil is still spewing from the well forces company execs and high level federal officials to stop what they're doing and answer a bunch of pointless, grandstanding questions so Democrats can look a little better in November.
- Put federal officials on the ground with the power to make decisions. USCG and DOI have mobilized an army of bureaucrats, none of which apparently have any decisionmaking capability whatsoever. Everything goes up through a chain of command, and decisions that should be made in minutes take days.
- Suspend enforcement of the Jones Act. The Act was intended to stop "tramp steaming" of foreign vessels between US ports. It was never intended to prevent foreign owned vessels to assist in oil spill recovery ops. Indeed, the ROV's being used to feed live video to the surface are all foreign owned!
- Get someone in charge with some management experience. Community organizers may make great speakers and campaigners, but when it comes to managing an effort of this magnitude Mr. President, you are showing all of the competence of a jackass trying to suck oil through a straw.
Gimme some feedback in the comments.