As BP continues to bungle its response to the oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is scrambling to show some leadership during the crisis. The administration has a lot of catching up to do.
Let's remember that the administration initially ceded too much authority to BP. From the start, federal officials accepted BP's estimates at the daily volume of gushed oil, with little attempts at independent verification. They refused to intervene as BP deployed a toxic dispersant on the oil that had never before been used on such a vast scale.
Now we have the nation's worst oil spill, and President Obama finally has lost his patience with BP. It's about time. The rest of the nation is well past the losing-patience stage and public anger is peaking as this disaster has grown under BP's incompetent leadership. Now we are learning that BP may have violated its own safety standards.
Attorney General Eric Holder visited the disaster area Tuesday and is threatening a criminal investigation of those involved. Holder's pronouncement sounds like political damage control. We are not impressed by his tough talk. We'll wait to see if there is tough action to back it up.
But responsibility does not just reside with the current occupants of the White House. As was its pattern, the Bush administration loaded up the Mineral Management Service with officials friendly to the oil industry.
Federal officials were treated to hunting trips and tickets to a Peach Bowl game courtesy of oil and gas companies. They also allowed operators of rigs to fill out their own inspection reports, according to published reports.
The oil spill was inevitable given the lack of oversight by federal officials.
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