Where’s the Money (Congressional Buy-in)? All Talk, No Action.
President Obama and Congress are great on lambasting BP (perhaps deserved), but where is the “put your money where your mouth is?” When did Congress “improve oil spill response capabilities?”
Funding for the OSRR program and operation of Ohmsett – The National Oil Spill Response Test Facility are appropriated from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). The OSLTF received funds from a $0.05 tax on each barrel of oil produced or imported into or out of the United States. This tax was suspended when the fund reached $1 billion dollars. Currently funds for the OSLTF are derived from interest on the fund, cost recovery from responsible parties, and penalties. The tax can be re-implemented if the fund falls below the billion dollar level. As intended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, potential polluters, companies that produce and transport oil are supporting research to improve oil spill response capabilities.
I’ve no defense for BP “cutting corners” (if they did), but between Congress and the President there’s only one outfit taking any responsibility “from Day 1!” BP.
Despite Congressional limitations of $75 Million on damages (TITLE 33 > CHAPTER 40 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 2704), BP has already spent $2 billion on remediation and cleanup. Obama’s Commission on the accident may have its first meeting TODAY (June 22, 2010)!
No Coast Guard ships rescued workers from the Deepwater Horizon, but they participated in a search afterwards, and called it off after three days. Fire boats may have participated in sinking the rig; capsizing the rig may have broken mile-long pipes to create the spill.
MONTHS ago, President Obama could have suspended The Jones Act, as President Bush did after Katrina, but he did not.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff temporarily waived the U.S. Shipping Act for foreign vessels carrying oil and natural gas from September 1 to September 19, 2005.
Oil skimmers from The Netherlands were offered and rejected by Obama … their ships cannot help, but the equipment finally got approval to be used. Offered within THREE DAYS … accepted MONTHS later!
Congress is slathering over $20 billion that BP has agreed to put up … years from now, somebody will discover how much Congressional “friends” received in undue “response funds.” For now, it is grand to blame everything on BP … they have earned money that Congress can only print.
Lots of mouths … all begging to be fed from some foreign corporation, because they can’t feed themselves. Not President nor Congress willing to put their own mouths to provide money. Or leadership.
The Coast Guard has been doing their best, but in this emergency, where has the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) been involved in the least?