Is there a political reason behind the Obama Administration's foot-dragging on the Gulf Oil Clean-Up?

Is the Obama administrations slowness to deal with the gulf oil disaster simply another example of government bungling or is there more to it?  There appears to be one common thread that connects all of the administration's actions, or inaction, as well as both liberal and conservative criticisms -- namely, the administration's slow response.  But, more pointedly the administration has been foot-dragging clean up efforts.  The Wall Street Journal reports that criticizing the clean-up has become Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's daily routine.     

Nearly every day, the Republican policy wonk pulls on his brown cowboy boots and traipses across a newly oiled shore, or takes a boat through fouled waters. Along the way, he often lambastes BP's and the federal government's efforts as "too little, too late" for communities scrambling to protect their fragile wetlands from encroaching crude—comments that have drawn sharp criticism from the White House and some Democratic lawmakers.

Louisiana has jurisdiction over its coastline, but none in the federal waters of the Gulf.

Mr. Jindal accuses the federal government of poorly coordinating cleanup efforts between its agencies and BP, leading to delays in cleaning oiled beaches and marshes, laying protective boom and delivering resources to critical areas.

One can understand the difficulties in plugging a well that's about a mile underwater; it's certainly a daunting task.   But cleaning oil spills is routine work.  There are many methods and there've been lots of suggestions.  Industry expert John Hofmeister argues that supertankers have been successfully used before.  The idea is all over the internet; for instance Esquire has a blog about it
There's a potential solution to the Gulf oil spill that neither BP, nor the federal government, nor anyone — save a couple intuitive engineers — seems willing to try. As The Politics Blog reported on Tuesday in an interview with former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, the untapped solution involves using empty supertankers to suck the spill off the surface, treat and discharge the contaminated water, and either salvage or destroy the slick.

Hofmeister had been briefed on the strategy by a Houston-based environmental disaster expert named Nick Pozzi, who has used the same solution on several large spills during almost two decades of experience in the Middle East — who says that it could be deployed easily and should be, immediately, to protect the Gulf Coast. That it hasn't even been considered yet is, Pozzi thinks, owing to cost considerations, or because there's no clear chain of authority by which to get valuable ideas in the right hands. But with BP's latest four-pronged plan remaining unproven, and estimates of company liability already reaching the tens of billions of dollars (and counting), supertankers start to look like a bargain.

The real question now is, "Why has the administration blocked clean-up efforts, of all things?  There's no argument that it may take until August for new wells to stem the leak, but why isn't everything possible being done to clean the water and prevent as much oil from coming to shore as possible?  Is it merely government bungling or is there a political agenda at work here?  This is, after all, the administration that vowed to "never waste a good crisis."

Did the administration early on make a conscious effort to stone-wall the clean up efforts in an attempt to use scenes of dirty birds and blobs of oil to sway public opinion in favor of its green, cap-and-trade agenda that's looked all but dead in congress?  Could much of the environmental and economic destruction been averted by an aggressive clean-up and containment effort?  Who in the administration is to blame? And why? 

One can only hope that American's will begin asking these tough questions about what appears to be a willful slowness on behalf of Bama Petroleum to vigorously attack the clean-up and preservation efforts.

Bill Weckesser
East Lansing, MI