Well, kiss off those Electoral College votes

November 11, 2010

A couple of days ago, I linked to news that the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General had concluded that the White House had (deliberately, in my opinion) altered a report by a panel of scientists on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to support the imposition of a moratorium on all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.

“The White House edit of the original DOI draft executive summary led to the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer-reviewed by the experts,” the IG report states, without judgment on whether the change was an intentional attempt to mislead the public.

Bear in mind that Carol Browner is at least closely affiliated with the Socialist International and has served as a member of their panel on its Commission for a Sustainable World Society. As recently as 2008, she participated in their international Congress. Killing, or at least heavily regulating oil drilling in favor of Green (and Green Statist*) energy programs be high on her agenda, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Browner saw this report as a chance to advance the cause.

Well, those edits may well have cost her boss the Electoral College votes of the Gulf Coast, because, in the wake of this revelation, people there are mad. Really mad:

Gulf State lawmakers are accusing the Obama administration of putting politics above science after a government watchdog said Interior Department officials misled the public by altering a report to suggest that a group of outside scientists supported a blanket ban on deepwater drilling.

The administration maintains that the flap is the result of rushed editing and nothing more. However, members of Congress from the Gulf region, already incensed over what they described as a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all reaction to the BP oil spill, are crying foul.

“This was not an accident at all. It was a deliberate attempt to use the prestige of the scientists to support their political decision,” said Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of several Republicans who this summer requested an investigation into the moratorium by the Interior Department’s inspector general.

Mr. Cassidy, who said the IG’s conclusions will come as “bitter news” to about 12,000 workers who lost their jobs because of the moratorium, noted that the administration ignored later arguments by five of the panel’s seven scientists in favor of targeted inspections over a blanket ban – something he said violated Mr. Obama’s vow to let science, and not politics, guide his policies.

As Jim Geraghty said, all Obama promises come with expiration dates. Obviously, this needs to be added to the list.

Meanwhile, how do you think those 12,000 workers who lost their jobs -or their families, friends, and the people at the businesses they used to buy from- will feel when the Hope and Change roadshow comes calling in 2012, knowing that their livelihoods were sacrificed on Socialism’s green altar?

Yeah. Me, too.

*It’s not for nothing that, in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, many Reds clothed themselves in Green. Environmentalism is an open door to state control of everything.

Via Lucianne.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Thank goodness Obama has cleaned up the White House

November 9, 2010

He and his team would never cook an official report to get what they want. Not like those naaasssttyyy BushChimpHitler* goons.  Never.

via Patrick Ruffini

*(For the record, I don’t believe the Bush White House tampered with the intel leading up to the Iraq invasion. There’s a big difference between being wrong and being dishonest. And even then they weren’t as wrong as assumed.)


The price of Obamanomics

August 23, 2010

It’s measured in lost jobs – 23,000 of them, in this case:

Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs, but went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process, according to previously undisclosed documents.

Critics of the moratorium, including Gulf Coast political figures and oil-industry leaders, have said it is crippling the region’s economy, and some have called on the administration to make public its economic analysis. A federal judge who in June threw out an earlier six-month moratorium faulted the administration for playing down the economic effects.

After his action, administration officials considered alternatives and weighed the economic costs, the newly released documents show. The Justice Department filed them in a New Orleans court this week, in response to the latest round of litigation over the moratorium.

Spanning more than 27,000 pages, they provide an unusually detailed look at the debate about how to respond to legal and political opposition to the moratorium.

They show the new top regulator or offshore oil exploration, Michael Bromwich, told Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that a six-month deepwater-drilling halt would result in “lost direct employment” affecting approximately 9,450 workers and “lost jobs from indirect and induced effects” affecting about 13,797 more. The July 10 memo cited an analysis by Mr. Bromwich’s agency that assumed direct employment on affected rigs would “resume normally once the rigs resume operations.”

If the administration assumed those jobs would start up again after a moratorium ended… Well, they’re smoking the good stuff. The companies that own the drilling platforms aren’t going to sit around losing money while waiting for Bromwich, Salazar (who should be impeached), and Obama to one day, maybe, reopen drilling in the Gulf. In fact, they’re already leaving, and you can bet more are headed for the door.

In reality, those jobs are either lost or soon will be. A competent administration, one that grounded itself in reality rather than wishful thinking, would have realized that platform owners would follow their economic interests and go where they’re allowed to do business. This isn’t even economics; it’s just common sense, something that seems to be in short supply at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Meanwhile, 23,000 Gulf residents are losing their livelihoods thanks to a stupid, panic-born, and deliberate decision by the Obama Administration.

What do you want to bet they’ll remember this come November?

LINKS: More at Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Is incompetence an impeachable offense?

June 29, 2010

I ask that only half-tongue in cheek, because right now I am ready to put the whole Executive Branch on trial, from Obama down to the night janitor. Time and again in the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster, we’ve been treated to one mind-boggling example of hitherto unimaginable ineptitude after another. First there was the overall lackadaisical response. Then we learned of miles of containment boom sitting in Maine, unused and unwanted, even though the scale of the disaster called for every square foot of it and more.

Now comes the capper. Word has been going around for weeks that foreign governments had offered their expertise and equipment to help deal with the crisis. As I said at the time:

When your neighbor offers to help put out a fire on your property, don’t you say “yes, thanks?”

Hell yes you do!

But, we were told, the situation wasn’t quite as it seemed. Not as bad as it looked. The Dutch weren’t being blown off and, by the way, Sarah Palin is an idiot.

Guess what? It’s worse than we thought and the idiot lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Avertible catastrophe

(…)

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Funny. I thought it was the American instinct to “dive into action” in an emergency. I guess it goes dormant whenever we have a President who’s “too cool to care.”

Meanwhile, the Gulf states are seeing their beaches destroyed and economies ruined in a disaster that could have been prevented, all because we first turned down the best available help and then dragged our feet after accepting it to appease labor unions. This lack of urgency and initiative and any sense of priorities falls squarely at the feet of President Obama, who could have set relief efforts in motion much faster had he actually kicked some bureaucratic tail, instead of just talking about it.

But that would interrupt tee-time, wouldn’t it?

Tell you what, Mr. President. You go golfing, but, before you leave, how about putting someone in charge of this who actually knows what to do to clean up the mess?

After all, she was right about the Dutch.

(via Ace)

LINKS: More from Fausta, who brings us the news that the Feds have finally asked for help, and Allahpundit, who links to this beauty.

Pardon me, but I need to pull my hair out.  At wits end


Don’t cry over spilled milk – call the EPA!

June 27, 2010

Yes, according to the EPA, cow’s milk is now classified as “oil:”

Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.

“That could get expensive quickly,” Konkel said. “We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil.”

Remember that the next time you wonder why the price of milk has gone up. And it’s not that I don’t believe agricultural pollution can be a problem, but with the Earth vomiting tens of thousands of barrels of real oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico, you’d think that the EPA would have more pressing matters to deal with, instead of spilled milk. Then again, if their boss isn’t worried…

But some politicians should be. This won’t play well in any big dairy state, not just Michigan, whether it’s California (“It’s the cheese!”) or Wisconsin, which has such large dairy industry that it bills itself as “America’s Dairyland” and where liberal Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is in a tough reelection battle. It’s another intervention and expense imposed by a regulatory agency at a time when most believe government does too much and has too much power. And, as the party of government and the party pushing for a vast expansion of an already intrusive government, the Democrats are doing a bang-up job of turning the public’s suspicion into electoral anger.

Come November, they may be crying over more than a spilled glass of oil milk.

(via Legal Insurrection)


The unengaged president

June 26, 2010

Mark Steyn has a great column at National Review you should read, comparing the President’s lack of interest in dealing with the Gulf oil spill to his lack of interest in Afghanistan (except when he’s accuse of being uninterested) and find the major media finally getting the message our enemies already understand:

Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.

Read it all.

(via Sarahbellumd)


Shouldn’t Ken Salazar be impeached?

June 23, 2010

Okay, we know it isn’t going to happen for two reasons:

  1. It’s a Democratic-controlled Congress through at least next January.
  2. And, as far as we know, he’s committed no criminal act, and precedent would seem to require that.

And yet, shouldn’t the Secretary of the Interior be impeached or, at the least, be fired or forced to resign for blatantly lying in the report that justified the Gulf drilling moratorium?

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report.

That’s from the ruling (PDF) of Federal Judge Martin Feldman, whose restraining order blocked the moratorium. To translate that last sentence, it’s a nice way of calling Secretary Salazar a big, fat liar. For background on the controversy over the experts’ opinions and Salazar’s fictionalization, read this article from NOLA.com, which also reports Interior as claiming “the White House made us do it.”

Since it’s evident that Secretary Salazar is willing to lie to the American people and misrepresent facts in court in order to serve the (anti-drilling) political needs of the White House, and since he’s quite happy to use those lies to justify actions that would do undoubted harm to the people  of the Gulf states during a time of national disaster, shouldn’t he be forced out? Shouldn’t he be hounded into resignation? Shouldn’t his boss be made to pay a political price by firing him for being revealed as a willing and dishonest tool? Hasn’t he lost the confidence of the American people as steward of our natural resources?

Or does he get a pass for all this?

(via Michelle Malkin)