Letters to the Editor

Government dropped ball on spill

After BP's oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, CEO Tony Hayward said; "We don't have the necessary tools in our tool kit." That dire truth played out as BP's technicians' jury-rigged equipment to stop the oil leak. Eventually a tube insertion and containment cap slightly slowed flow. Chance of success was slim, but activity diverted attention from the likely relief wells solution; smoke and mirrors in action.

In two days, a 5-mile-long oil slick formed; Coast Guard's oil flow estimate was 210,000 gallons a day (5,000 barrels) but Ian MacDonald Florida State University oceanography professor independently estimated more than 1 million gallons a day. Increasingly dire official estimate iterations followed, with the latest being between 1.3 and 2.5 million gallons a day. So by June 30, 91 to 181 million gallons had escaped into the Gulf of Mexico.

The White House June 30 blog, (WhiteHouse.gov/Deepwater-BP-Oil-Spill) showed 38 million gallons burned off or recovered, leaving 53 to 143 million gallons floating or on the coastline.

What will happen as a result? Vital fishing resources will be lost and prices will soar; wildlife refuges will be destroyed, creatures will be killed; beaches will be destroyed; vacation revenue will be lost; businesses will be bankrupted, jobs will be lost; a way of life will be severely altered or lost.

What has government done? The administration fixed blame, covering its rear end, performed photo ops and played second fiddle to BP. We must remember that most top administration officials and members of Congress are lawyers and were trained to fix blame and profit from that exercise rather than addressing problems and solving them in a logical and craftsman like manor. A bureaucracy heavily staffed with sycophants that lack and thwart innovative thinking and use technology primarily to help shuffle the red tape they've concocted supports this ineffectual structure.

What should have been done? 1. BP should have, as they did, take responsibility for stopping the leak while U.S. government should have taken control of all containment and started a tab accruing costs to BP. 2. Defense Department planner's expert in containment, logistics and contingency planning should have developed a plan to contain oil close as possible to explosion site. 3. A containment control center should have been set up immediately to implement the above plan by controlling and directing operations and obtaining resources be they foreign or domestic. A similar center has just gone operational over two months after event. 4. A blanket executive order should have been issued overriding all government agency requirements or rules that prevent or impede immediate protection of Gulf coastline from oil damage. 5. Government agents trained in field data collection and lawyers to negotiate should have been dispatched to affected communities to process, validate and pay claims immediately with costs billed to BP.

The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.