Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Federal Response to the BP Oil Spill vs Hurricane Katrina

Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker asks whether President Obama  failed to respond to the April 21st explosion of a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent oil leak. He makes the comparison to the Hurricane Katrina response. That was clearly the primary responsibility of local responders, i.e., the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana, a responsibility they failed at miserably. The response to the oil spill, miles out to sea, is the primary  responsibility of the federal government, a responsibility it appears to have failed at by dithering and delaying action until nine days after the explosion. Now measures to contain the spilling oil appear to be too late to do much good and damage to coastlines and fisheries will be far worse as a result.  I think this incindent just gives further proof to the charges that Hurricane Katrina was cynically seized on as an opportunity to damage George Bush politically.

There is a basic difference between this incident and Hurricane Katrina, to which it is being compared. In the case of Katrina, the primary responsibility for disaster response lay with the local and state governments. The local response was very poor; among other things, the governor of Louisiana was slow to call out the National Guard. Here, responsibility lay with the Obama administration from the beginning. State and local governments have no jurisdiction and no ability to deal with an oil spill miles out to sea. Only the federal government can act. It didn't, until, perhaps, it was too late

Read the whole thing.
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1 comment:

FogMan said...

This has got to be G.W.'s fault somehow. I'll bet Barbara Streisand will tell us how shortly.

Meanwhile, I'd suggest Louisiana pass a law making oil well blowouts against the law. That should help stem the flow of oil and hasten the cleanup efforts.