President Obama, in a no-questions allowed press conference, fumed about the reactions of the heads of the three companies involved with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
“I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter,” he intoned. “You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else.”
Of course, he gave no specifics as to what was said or who engaged in what “finger-pointing.”
As is usual with these “hearings,” the entire “spectacle” was no more than a stage for arrogant Congressional members to grandstand for the public. Never mind that the oil is still gushing and no one has any proof as to what actually led to this accident.
In the same breath, he blamed other administrations for failing to set and maintain strict standards (Obama has been in office now for almost a year and a half. His Democratic party has held Congress since 2006.):
“For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill. It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore.”
In other words: It’s Bush’s fault!
Apparently, Obama has selective amnesia, as he has been the largest recipient of BP campaign contributions in the last 20 years! Pretty “cozy,” no Barack?
(And keep in mind the last two sentences of his statement.)
He continued, saying that his administration has been fighting to change the culture of the Minerals Management Service :
“Now, from the day he took office as Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar has recognized these problems and he’s worked to solve them. Often times he has been slammed by the industry, suggesting that somehow these necessary reforms would impede economic growth. Well, as I just told Ken, we are going to keep on going to do what needs to be done.”
Time to accept a bit of blame, Obama.
According to, of all places, The New York Times, the Minerals Management Service has been overly lax and generous with its allowance of off-shore drilling operations, neglecting to obtain specific permits.
“The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.
Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is partly responsible for protecting endangered species and marine mammals. It has said on repeated occasions that drilling in the gulf affects these animals, but the minerals agency since January 2009 has approved at least three huge lease sales, 103 seismic blasting projects and 346 drilling plans. Agency records also show that permission for those projects and plans was granted without getting the permits required under federal law.
All of those approvals and permissions for off-shore drilling were obtained since January of 2009.
Since Obama has become President, oversight of these installations has been woefully inadequate, arguably bordering on criminal neglect.
While under the direction of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, appointed by Obama, the MMS paved the way for BP’s Deepwater Horizon to continue operation, at the same time exempting BP from producing detailed environmental impact studies.
Had these studies actually been made, verified, and scrutinized by Salazar and the MMS, this catastrophe may never have happened.
Amazingly, the Washington Post revealed this damning timeline tidbit:
“The decision by the department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 — and BP’s lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions — show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.
The MMS, the branch of the U.S. Interior Department that is responsible for managing oil, gas and other resources on the outer continental shelf, approved the exploration project on April 6, 2009.”
Obama’s MMS, the same one which he now claims he has been trying vehemently to change, took the word of BP’s own environmental study, and let the company slide through the approval process, which occurred just last year, and was lobbied for right up until the rig exploded.
This entire situation may never have happened if Salazar, and, by extension, Obama, followed the protocol and environmental rules set down for allowing off-shore oil drilling.
The lying, obfuscation, and feign outrage he has exhibited is brazenly hypocritical, and pretty damned disgusting.
Obama should be pointing his spring-loaded finger at himself.
Heck of a job, Barry!