A TV station in New Orleans reports that “the federal government is shutting down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.” Louisiana planned to create the sand berms to prevent the massive BP oil spill from polluting its coastline.
Earlier, a federal judge blocked Obama’s drilling ban on offshore drilling, citing deception by Obama administration officials. The ban applied mostly to oil companies with radically better safety records than BP. (BP’s executives gave lots of money to Obama and lobbied for his legislation.)
Obama delayed the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico by blocking foreign crews from operating sophisticated clean-up vessels. The Jones Act bans foreign vessels and crews from working in U.S. waters, but it gives the President the authority to completely waive that ban if he wishes. Obama refused to lift the ban, even though American shippers who generally support the ban said they wouldn’t object to lifting it to fight the spill. As a result of the ban, the U.S. rejected a lot of foreign aid from counties with expertise in fighting oil spills, and accepted only a small amount of foreign equipment to fight the spill.
The federal government has routinely been a thorn in the side of Louisiana as it seeks to fight the huge oil spill. It recently used red tape to force Louisiana to stop using 16 barges that were cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico by sucking thousands of gallons of oil out of Louisiana’s oil-soaked waters. Earlier, four oil skimmers needed to clean the Gulf were blocked by EPA officials.
The oil spill has been called “Obama’s Katrina,” but Gulf Coast resident Paul Rubin says this is unfair to George Bush, who was not nearly as incompetent as Obama has been in dealing with the spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon. In the Wall Street Journal, Rubin notes that the oil spill occurred in federal waters and thus was a federal responsibility, while Hurricane Katrina occurred mostly on state land and thus was largely a state, not federal, responsibility, enabling incompetent local officials in cities like New Orleans to “interfere” with federal relief efforts:
In many respects, the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Katrina are mirror images of each other. The harm from Katrina was on state land—mainly Louisiana, but also Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. As a result, President George W. Bush and the federal government were limited in what they could do. For example, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wanted to take command of disaster relief on the day before landfall, but Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco refused. Federal response was hindered because the law gave first authority to state and local authorities. State and local efforts—particularly in New Orleans, and Louisiana more broadly—interfered with what actions the federal government could actually take. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was late in ordering an evacuation and did not allow the use of school buses for evacuation, which could have saved hundreds of lives. President Bush had no power to change that decision. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is on federal offshore territory. The federal government has primary responsibility for handling the situation, while state and local governments remain limited in what they can do. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly changed its mind regarding the chemical dispersants that Louisiana is allowed to use. . . .As opposed to Katrina, state and local attempts to address the oil spill have been hindered by an ineffectual and chaotic federal response.
Obama is now using the BP oil spill to push a corporate-welfare-filled global-warming bill crafted partly by BP’s lobbyists. Obama’s global warming legislation expands ethanol subsidies, which cause famine, starvation, and food riots in poor countries by shrinking the food supply, and also result in deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Subsidies for biofuels like ethanol are a big source of corporate welfare: “BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels . . . that cannot break even without government support.”