House Republicans Fighting against an Oceans Czar
In addition to pursuing subpoenas issued to the White House regarding the illegal offshore drilling moratorium issued in the midst of BP's top kill operation on May 27, 2010, the House Natural Resources Committee is also pushing back against Executive Order 13547, which was adopted during the frenzied debate regarding implementation of the "static kill" of BP's Deepwater Horizon well on July 19, 2010. Erika Johnsen at Hot Air has an informative discussion of the issues. She links to an appearance by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) on Fox and Friends last Wednesday. Are we now ready for an Oceans Czar? Using a well-worn Chicago political trick of sneaking a new policy with far-reaching implications through with minimum fanfare, President Obama issued this executive order on July 19, 2010 while attention was focused on the Deepwater Horizon. That date is not coincidental.
This is yet another instance of the administration "not wasting a crisis." What is scary to contemplate is how close we came to having the Democrats pass Cap & Trade under the guise of favoring the "protection" of government regulators against the evil capitalist polluters, as represented by BP. As we established last Friday, the Obama administration was slow-walking the BP source control effort. To set the scene, remember that the Democrats controlled all three branches of government and had already gotten passage of Cap & Trade in the House. All that remained to take control of the energy sector through Cap & Trade was passage in the Senate, and Harry Reid was feverishly arm-twisting Republicans to complete passage within the next ten days.
So was the administration deliberately slow-walking BP's static kill, as they seemingly did with its top kill, to buy time to pass Cap & Trade? This is a tale of rupture disks. Steven Chu's decision to prematurely halt the top kill in May was attributed to concerns about the rupture disks. Then on July 19, 2010, we saw them hard at work once again plugging the same theme. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was still "on message" when he cited rupture disks in his account of the ongoing well integrity test during his daily press briefing on July 19, when he said (6:16 to 6:44):
If the pressure gets only to a certain point and then begins to drop, the concern is that somewhere in that wellbore there's a rupture disk or there is some structural damage that would lead to seepage out through the strata, and ultimately up into the Gulf of Mexico through rocks and such on the floor of the gulf. That is what we're closely monitoring.
Earlier the morning of July 19, 2010, in an American Thinker blog entry called "Steven Chu's Snake Oil," I had debunked the concerns about the rupture disks. I wrote:
You probably have been hearing a lot of nonsense lately about the integrity of BP's Macondo well casing. A lot of it has been coming from those who ought to know better, specifically including Energy Secretary Chu. Click here for a copy of the well diagram saved from the DOE website. I recommend that you print it out to follow along[.]
(As another way to help you visualize the various options, here is a Kent Wells animation of the various options being considered: the top kill, static kill, and relief well.)
The battle between common sense and the political aims of the Obama administration intensely raged out of sight of the public on that fateful day, July 19, 2010. Time has provided a definitive answer as to which side was correct. The accuracy of our position was decisively demonstrated when BP successfully killed the well during the static kill operation during August 2-4, 2010. So it is a good thing that the House Republicans are doggedly pursuing the malfeasance of the administration and want to hold Obama accountable for it. Elections matter; none of this would be taking place if the Republicans had not re-taken the House of Representatives in November 2010.