I’ve been following various discussions as to whether or not Obama should be taking heat for the Fed’s slow response to the disaster. Powerline has this post that quotes an industry insider extensively:

Most people cannot appreciate the technical challenges and daily miracles of deepwater drilling and production. It is in many respects more difficult than manned spaceflight or planetary exploration. It’s an endeavor on the very leading edge of human capability, and when things go wrong, our capabilities are severely tested.

Unlike the rest of the world, the US system is based on polluters cleaning up their own messes, with government oversight. This system has worked well in the years since the Exxon Valdez spill. OPA 90 is one of the best pieces of legislation ever passed by our hapless Congress. The number, frequency, and gallons of oil spilled in the US has dropped dramatically over the last 20 years because of this law.

I also note with some dismay that there appears to be a nationwide misconception that DOD always has a silver bullet for every sort of contingency. That is simply not true in the world of oil spills. The nation’s expertise for managing oil spill respose lies (in order) with the CG, industry experts like the Obrien’s Group and MSRC, the EPA, and NOAA.

Please carefully read the NOAA report I’m pasting below. It shows that everyone involved (CG/NOAA/MMS/BP) knew of the potential for disaster from the very beginning. Please trust me when I tell you that those of us at the pointy end of the spear were going balls-to-the- wall on this thing from day one, and we weren’t sitting around waiting for “help” or “direction” or “leadership” from the President or Secretary Napalitano.

We were working the problem.

The people with primary responsibility for cleaning up the spill were working the problem from day one. There really wasn’t much President Obama could do. The resources that he could deploy, such as the military, the national guard, and homeland security, do not the expertise or equipment to deal with a major oil spill. The idea that the Federal Government could wave a magic wand and clean up the spill betrays a touching faith in the power of Big Government. That faith is misplaced.

The bigger issue is whether or not he shows leadership on the issue of off-shore drilling. We know where Palin stands:

All responsible energy development must be accompanied by strict oversight, but even with the strictest oversight in the world, accidents still happen. No human endeavor is ever without risk – whether it’s sending a man to the moon or extracting the necessary resources to fuel our civilization. I repeat the slogan “drill here, drill now” not out of naiveté or disregard for the tragic consequences of oil spills – my family and my state and I know firsthand those consequences. How could I still believe in drilling America’s domestic supply of energy after having seen the devastation of the Exxon-Valdez spill? I continue to believe in it because increased domestic oil production will make us a more secure, prosperous, and peaceful nation.

Interesting side note that both Palin and the insider compare the challenges of deep water drilling with manned space flight.

I suspect Obama will not take her “drill, baby, drill” position; he will more likely use the disaster to “stall, baby, stall”.

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