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Monday, June 07, 2010

Edward Markey's Show of Force

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) is the chairman of the House Committee investigating the BP oil spill. He's also the chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global warming and the chair of a subcommittee called the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, which serves under the Energy and Commerce Committee. That's a lot of high highfalutin bureaucratic responsibility.

Congressman Markey has been an outspoken and sometimes vehement critic of BP, Halliburton and Transocean. He's accused them of incompetence, lying and criminal wrongdoing. I'm not here to tell you he's wrong, because I don't know for certain. In fact, it has been made painfully clear that the oil companies and the government (through the actions of the MMS of the Interior Dept.) have shared a criminal relationship by way of circumvention laws and regulations.

But here's the problem with Markey's agenda:

By spending all this time criticizing BP's failed attempts to cap the well and stop the leak and complaining about the live feed and BP's and the Coast Guard's underestimate of the volume of the leak (actually, he hasn't dared criticize the Coast Guard), he is effectively shifting focus away from the clean-up and recovery at sea issue, which I have been screaming about since day one.

Unfortunately, the Coast Guard, FEMA, the EPA, the Dept. of the Interior, and the White House, are all busy doing everything but what they should be doing. Instead of focusing on managing recovery and clean-up assets, they're involved in some way or another in the effort to stop the leak. The one thing they have no experience with, no knowledge about, no possible impact on, and that's what we hear them talking about. The leak. I wish to hell someone would ask them what's being done and what has been done to date to recover the oil spill and slick/sheen at sea. We should be getting daily updates as to how much water/oil has been recovered, where it's going, and how it's being handled. Instead, every single day, these people are focusing the public's attention on the leak.

Today, Admiral Thad Allen said the clean-up would go on until the fall. What the hell kind of comment is that? The leak isn't plugged yet and he has it figured out that we'll be all cleaned up by fall. In the same press conference he said the slick/sheen is no longer contiguous. It's now a bunch of separate spills, from hundreds of yards in diameter to many miles in diameter.

BP CEO Tony Hayward has said some stupid things over the past five weeks, but I understand what he was trying to say. He was/is trying to say, "We want this thing stopped, too, and we're working hard as hell to stop it."

Anybody who thinks BP isn't doing all it can to stop the leak is wasting brain energy. And all this talk about BP's culpability and/or the status of the leak is nothing more than a feeble attempt to shift blame away from an impotent oil recovery program and a government that remains asleep at the wheel.


PS. Early last week President Obama came out and said the new jobs data report would be encouraging. Someone apparently neglected to tell him that the jobs data report included over 400,000 jobs created by his own census bureau. In truth, only 40,000 jobs had been created. By the end of the week it became clear the jobs data report was bogus; Wall Street responded to this (and the bad European news) with a triple digit dip. Thank you Mr. President. I mention this because there are 100,000 jobs waiting for people in the Gulf. Instead of hiring 400,000 people to walk from house to house asking residents if they have any kids, maybe we should hire some people to help clean oil off 400 miles of pristine wetlands and beach and 30,000 square miles of the briny deep.

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