Friday, July 02, 2010

Findings on White House's response to the Oil Spill

Here's a link to a just published report on the White House Public Relations Campaign on the Oil Spill. The report was done by U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

An excerpt:
Findings
Committee staff has discovered the following based upon witness interviews and
documents provided by federal and state entities:
• Officials on the ground dispute key White House assertions about the number and
timeliness of assets deployed in the Gulf. Local officials describe White House
outreach efforts as more focused on stopping bad press than on addressing the
disaster at hand;

• The White House’s assurances that there are adequate resources are at odds with the
reality on the ground, where those on the frontline of the spill express significant
frustration over the lack of assets. Local complaints are supported by the fact that the White House waited until Day 70 of the oil spill to accept critical offers of
international assistance. Local workers and boats could have been assisting more
with the clean-up if the Federal government had provided them with needed supplies
and equipment;

• While the White House has tried to use the delay in finding a visible leak to explain its early silence on the oil spill, Transocean officials and Coast Guard documents from the scene of the oil spill reveal clear and early indications of a substantial oil leak days earlier than White House accounts;

• The failure of Administration officials to quickly waive laws preventing necessary
foreign assets from reaching the Gulf and other regulations are hampering efforts to
clean-up and limit damage from the oil spill. Local officials feel the federal
government is making the perfect the enemy of the good in cleanup efforts;

• Local officials strongly dispute President Obama’s insistence that the federal
government – and not BP – has been in control since day one. One Coast Guard
Admiral told congressional investigators that decisions on the ground are made
through a “consensus-based” process with BP. In practice, the Federal Government is
not in charge of oil spill response efforts through a command-and-control approach;

• Local officials strongly believe the President’s call for a drilling moratorium will significantly compound the economic damage caused by the oil spill and will actually increase risk associated with future offshore drilling projects.

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