Obama Knew Spill Scope from Day 1

Elizabeth Scalia
The Anchoress

Wait, what?

Critics have bashed President Obama for being slow to seize the political initiative in combating the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, now widely believed to be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The White House has battled back, releasing a timeline of events showing that Obama was briefed—and deploying the Coast Guard—within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be—and how hard it would be to plug the hole.

Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast. Browner warned that capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they ought to expect an oil spill that would continue until a relief well was drilled in August, the aide said.

That early briefing on the scope of the spill—and enormous technical challenges involved in fixing it—might help explain the sense of fatalism that has infused Obama’s team from the start.

Publishing this at 8:46 PM on a Friday night, when it is least likely to be noticed, Richard Wollfe sends out a trial balloon, to see if it will float some sympathy toward the White House: Hey, America, Obama knew it was going to be really bad, and there was nothing he could actually do about that, so he did nothing about anything.

Hey, America, I knew it was hopeless, and I couldn’t change anything, so I couldn’t see the point of accepting the help of 17 nations offering their technology and their expertise in attempting to contain the damage as much as possible; no point in even attempting to use supertankers to try to remove as much oil from the surface as possible, even if they have to do it for months.

Hey, America, I knew it was bad, so there was no sense in telling you anything, or in helping Governor Jindal try to protect the marshlands and coasts of Louisiana.

President Obama surely cannot be blamed for (or personally do anything about) “the damn hole,” that–even “capped”– is still gushing oil into (and beyond) the Gulf of Mexico, and that’s why reasonable people have not been the ones insisting that the president play superhero, or display reassuring “concern” by doing a public freak-out. In a crisis, you want the president to be calm and collected.

But Obama just as surely could have informed the nation that we were facing a long-term assault on our environment that would have wide repercussions…

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This article by The Anchoress has much, much more information and continues at FirstThings.com We strongly urge our readers to continue at her site and to follow all the links she has embedded in the article.

We’re still trying to discover whether or not the government will even consider the “Kevin Costner” solution. Why not? Why shouldn’t we try everything while our Gulf coast is dying? Demonizing BP and threatening them with criminal prosecution has only caused the company’s stock to drop precipitously. That investment money, now lost to the company, could have been reimbursed to the United States to pay for cleanup and restoration projects. You’d think the brightest minds the Ivy League churns out could come to this conclusion, too, if simple folks like us can: work with BP to help the Gulf states now; threaten and prosecute later.

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