Posted June 18, 2010 | comments 6 Comments

Venting at BP

Thursday was not going to be a good day for Tony Hayward. The CEO of BP, whose failed rig continues to spew oil throughout the Gulf of Mexico, had a date with a congressional committee eager to express the anger and frustration of Americans over the nation's worst environmental disaster.

The congressmen indeed proceeded to unload on Hayward, with one notable exception: Texas Republican Joe Barton, who apologized to BP and criticized the Obama administration for its "shakedown" in demanding the oil company establish a $20 billion relief fund for spill victims.

Hayward, who has drawn fire for insensitive remarks since the rig exploded nearly two months ago, was properly contrite in his prepared statement. But his mea culpa counted for little with the committee members intent on venting their indignation.

His inability or unwillingness to delve into the reasons for the disaster and BP's safety policies further rankled the committee members, some of whom accused him of "stonewalling." About the only facet Hayward was willing to venture an opinion on was the failure of the blowout preventer, manufactured by another company, which he said was in need of "a fundamental redesign."

Congressman Barton's apostasy, which deflected the caustic spotlight from BP, caused chagrin among the House GOP leadership. They ordered him to retract his remarks or risk losing his post as senior Republican on the committee. When his response fell short of what the leaders wanted -- he first claimed his statements had been "misconstrued" -- they issued their own statement: "Congressman Barton's statements this morning were wrong."

Barton's blunder was a blatant, untimely reminder of the Republicans' cozy relationship with Big Oil -- he is the recipient of the most congressional campaign donations from oil and gas interests since 1990 -- and their now-muted 2008 battle cry of "drill, baby, drill."


    Enough with the denigrating of Tony Hayward. Since Obama has claimed to be in charge of the Oil Spill response and has been on the job since Day 1, it is he that should be feeling the brunt of American's anger for his dismal unleadership.

    As for Congressman Barton, I say thank you for speaking up about this shakedown by Obama who seeks the glory yet will not accept the failure of his Administration. After all Obama has been shaking down the American people since January 2009.

    I'm sorry, but did you just try to claim that Obama isn't "accepting failure"? From my vantage point he's taken responsibility for something that shouldn't have been his responsibility. Far cry from the previous administration who refused to take responsibility for things that WERE their fault....

    BP caused the spill and should have had an action plan for such a thing. They didn't. Obama and the administration can be faulted for thinking that BP would actually put forth its full effort to contain the spill without concern for their bottom line. Wouldn't be the first time that Obama has been accused of being naive...

    Anyway, to laud Barton for his stance really says all anyone needs to hear regarding unwaivering support that Republicans have for big oil...

    LOL!!! Yeah, Obama spilled the oil. Just come out and say it. You know you want to. We STILL don't know how to clean this up or stop the leak but we need to get a move on and lift this moratorium in the Gulf!!! DRILL BABY DRILL!!!

    The United States government is partially responsible for this leak as they mandate the regulations that required drilling to happen in such adverse locations and Obama is the head of the government. Also, since these circumstances are driven by the environmental lobby, which the Democrats pander to, the party as a whole bears responsibility.

    Everyone is to blame for this...BP, the government, Obama, Bush and every president and congress before who simply looked the other way instead of enforcing the regulations. BTW there are enough regulation for the oil industry, the government just doesn't enforce them.

    The explosion was BP's fault. They should have capped the well before the explosion...which they knew was very possible. The clean up falls solely on the back of President Obama who refuses to let other countries, people, heck anyone help who wants to clean it up. I never thought someone would beat Carter as the most useless president ever, but Obama has surpassed him. Maybe if he'd quit golfing and going to concerts and playing at "king" something would get done...then again everything he has touched has turned to crap.

    We need to stop blaming and start fixing. The problem is that Obama doesn't know how to do anything but blame everyone else. ... And while I love ya Irishman, Bush took way more responsibility for his actions than Obama. Please tell me who he blamed for his messes, because while I didn't like his most of his policies I don't remember him being a whiner.

    Fire Eater, if it were up to the environmental lobby, BP wouldn't even have BEEN there. If you think for a moment that they considered it a "victory" that BP was allowed to be drilling wells 5,000 feet down in the Gulf of Mexico then you don't know liberal environmentalists very well...

    As for regulations that should have been enforced, the US is one of the ONLY countries that does NOT require the safety measures that could have prevented this accident from occurring. Ever wonder why this kind of thing doesn't happen in the North Sea?

    And Kim... To be fair, Bush never "took responsibility for his failures" because he never saw anything he did as a failure in the first place. There's a difference. Obama is stepping to the forefront and claiming this disaster as his responsibility to clean up. To me that's a far cry from declaring "Mission Accomplished" and pretending like everything is going just smashingly...

    As for criticism of Obama's administration as a whole? I have yet to figure out how he decides what to focus on from day to day. He's detached from the pulse of his constituency which has been the biggest disappointment to me.

    IMO the response to the spill should have been the exact rhetoric that he gave, except that he mobilizes out of work fishermen and whatever government entity is/was at his disposal to go out with skimmers and construct some sort of shoreline defense to keep the oil away from the coast. Instead, we got the speeches and then he waited for BP to do something because it was their mess...... Nope, shoulda done the work for them and charged BP for it when it was done... (except for plugging the leak. THAT is on BP as they are sadly the best people for that job...).

    Lets put things into thier proper place. It's not Obama's fault that BP chose to go the cheap route with environmental safety. Rules were in place and BP chose not to follow them or be too concerned with the potential liability (and significant widespread disater) if the well were to fail. Kudos to Irishman, your last paragraph is exactly what the Fed should have done about the spill. This spill is a national disater within the scope of the Fed to take over and control. We wouldn't leave a corporation in control of disaster recovery in any other situation, why do it in this case? It is obvious that BP is mostly interested in trying to cover it's tail; have we already forgotten about the horrendously low estimates that BP initally gave of how much oil was pouring out of thier well. That gross misrepresentation of the facts was an attempt to smokescreen the true damages so they could try to limit thier liability.

    Barton's statement was dead on. The $20 billion fund was a shakedown by the president in order to try to make him look good. Obama does not have the proper authority to demand that BP fork over $20 billion and set it up in a fund. The president of the U.S. is in the EXECUTIVE branch. BP, to my knowledge, has not been lax in making payments to those who were damaged by thier reckless disregard of safety. If BP were not paying out in a timely fashion, then it would be the proper authority to use the LEGISLATIVE branch of the government to require payment to those damaged by the spill. I don't think that the $20 billion fund is going to be enough for all the damages anyway. I believe the true damages are going to be significantly higher, perhaps over $100 billion. We should start an action, by congress, to hold BP liable and secure any assets that believe necessary to cover future costs. This should, however, be done the proper way, in the courts.

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