Federal and state officials criticized BP on Friday for what they said was an inadequate response to the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They urged the oil company to do more to stop a leaking undersea oil well 50 miles offshore as floating crude oil imperiled the fragile marshes of the Gulf coast.
At an afternoon press conference with other officials in Louisiana, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, said he told BP officials and engineers at their command center in Houston “to work harder and faster and smarter to get the job done.”
“Those responsible,” he added, “will be held accountable.”
The disaster began with an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig last week, which sank the rig and left 11 people missing and presumed dead and three more critically injured. The well the rig was drilling, 5,000 feet below the surface, is now leaking oil at a rate of about 5,000 barrels a day.
The rig was owned and operated by Transocean under lease to BP. Under federal law, BP must pay the cost of containing and cleaning up the oil.
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who also spoke at the news conference, was forceful in his criticism of the company’s efforts to cope with the disaster.
“I do have concerns,” he said, “that BP’s current resources are not adequate to meet the three challenges we face.” For one, he said, the company had not managed to stop the well from leaking. For another, he said, the floating booms being used by the company had not been effective in halting the progress of the slick.
You all know what is going to come next, don’t you? After spending a few days getting no traction calling the oil spill in the Gulf “Obama’s Katrina,” it is going to be most excellent watching the usual suspects pirouette and attack Obama for being too hard on the oil industry.
Also, place your bets on which Sunday bobblehead will still attempt to call this “Obama’s Katrina.” My money is on David Gregory, as always.