A lot of things have gone wrong in the last 72 days since oil started spilling into the Gulf, and very few things have gone right. Unfortunately, the oil spilling into the Gulf is only one of many, many problems in the Gulf. There are the obvious problems of extremely polluted water, the oil soaked animals, the oil soaked beaches, the loss of tourism, the loss of jobs, and the loss of faith in the process that is supposed to ensure things like this never happen. But, why hasn’t the oil been cleaned up? Why is the leak still spewing oil into the Gulf? BP has their fair share of blame, but so does the federal government.
The government has had a lot of missteps. The EPA would not allow ships to skim oil from the water because they couldn’t get 100% of the oil out. They could only get 99% of the oil out. They failed to get rid of the horribly outdated Jones Act that forbids foreign vessels from helping us clean up the gulf. There have been plenty of problems with the way the Federal Government has reacted to the oil spill, but it’s never too late to start getting it right.
The Heritage Foundation has put together a list of things the Obama administration can do to mitigate the damage that the oil slick can still do. These are steps that can be taken immediately, and more items will be added to the list when appropriate. Simple things like waiving the Jones Act (as the Bush Administration did during Katrina), or accepting international assistance. Or allowing ships like the S.S. A-Whale–that has the capability to skim 500,000 barrels a day– to immediately start assisting efforts. It’s in the Gulf now, but it is still not being used.
One thing they should not do is halt the exploration for oil. The economy of the gulf relies heavily on oil exploration and The Heritage Foundation recommends President Obama end the moratorium on drilling. It is a knee-jerk reaction that has devastating long-term consequences. The list also calls for common sense solutions like not cutting the Coast Guard’s budget, and temporarily waiving EPA regulations that make no sense in these desperate times.
The Heritage Foundation’s list includes other things that should be done and it will be updated as items get completed. Read it here, and check back often, as they keep the administration accountable to the crisis he needs to lead us through.