Today is Day 51 since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded off the shores of Louisiana, killing 11 people. Two days later – on Earth Day, no less – the rig sank. A few days later, The New York Times reported that crude oil was pumping into the Gulf of Mexico at an alarming rate.As clumsy attempts by BP failed to stop the oil leak, no one has determined where the blame should be placed for what The New York Times reported as the worst oil disaster in American history. This is most likely because everyone involved is guilty.
BP (who owns the well), Transocean (who owned the rig) and Halliburton, (who provided cementing services) were no help as they pointed fingers at each other during a hearing in front of the House of Representatives on May 11.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) reported during the inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon gulf coast oil spill on May 12 that evidence showed each company had played a role in the disaster and had provided false or incomplete information to Congress to cover their tracks.
At a news conference regarding the “ongoing oil spill response” on May 14, President Barack Obama expressed disgust at the three companies’ finger pointing and then did some pointing, himself.
Obama first nodded towards previous administrations for the “cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill.”
He then said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s efforts to clean up the Mineral Management Service agency had been “slammed by the [oil] industry, suggesting that somehow these necessary reforms would impede economic growth.”
The combination of all of these failures resulted in a perfect storm of enormous ecological and financial proportions.
Where does the buck stop? Everywhere. The three companies and the current and previous administrations are all guilty to varying degrees.
According to The New York Times, federal agencies have failed over the years to adjust regulations to fit new drilling technologies.
They instead chose to pepper the guidelines with exceptions that catered to the unprecedented needs of the industry.
Therefore, one might even argue that all administrations that served since deepwater drilling began ultimately deserve the blame.
Too bad Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Reagan aren’t around. They might want to play the blame game, too.
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