Obama blocks speedy BP oil spill cleanup

If you are not shaking your head in disbelief after reading this, “you are a better man than I”.  Apparently, President Obama has refused to allow experts in oil spill cleanup to enter United States waters and assist in the cleanup.

Here is what we know courtesy of my environmental engineer friend.  De Standaard, a Dutch newspaper, wrote an article explaining that several European countries offered their help to Obama.  They have ships designed for the express purpose of cleaning up oil spills…the U.S. has none. They claim that they can finish the job in three to four months…the administration is projecting nine months. 

Obama told them, no.

Why, you ask?  The problem, is U.S. law, specifically, the Jones Act.  It requires that all ships transporting goods between U.S. ports must be constructed in the United States, owned by United States citizens, and crewed by United States citizens.  Presidents have the power to suspend the Jones Act, and, in times of emergency, have done so in the past.  But, so as not to antagonize the unions in general, and the longshoremen in particular, Obama has refused to suspend the Jones Act.  And, thus, the countries with the most knowledge and the best equipment to deal with this disaster have been prohibited from bringing their “foreign” ships, and “foreign” crews to help the Gulf Coast cleanup on the oft chance that the unions would  claim a violation of the Jones Act.

As my engineer friend said in his e-mail,

President Bush suspended the Jones Act in the aftermath of Katrina in order to speed assistance to the storm’s victims.  President Obama has been requested to do the same, but so far he would rather watch the damage accumulate and just blame Big Business, Big Oil, capitalism, or George Bush.

This is tragic.  No, it is more than tragic.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Lucinda on June 11, 2010 at 3:33 am

    I'd say "unbelievable" but unfortunately, with this president it's all too believable. It's what I've come to expect from this administration.


    We're doomed.

    • fishergirl on June 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      I agree Lucinda, we are doomed. I pray Obama gets out of office.

    • SticksnStones1998 on June 17, 2010 at 5:37 am

      Why not implode the well head with a half dozen torpedoes?  Some idiot in the white house suggested a nuclear bomb, which is insane, but why not regular ordinance?  What's the worst that could happen, an oil leak?  The well head consists of a malleable pipe that penetrates the muck until they hit solid rock, the hole is basically through rock.  We can send a bunker buster down a cave entrance from 10,000', but can't penetrate the muck around a well head?  All this could have been tried while BP sets up to drill a relief hole in August.  After they imploded the well head, they could dumped as many barges of rock as needed to completely seal the leak.  Of course, BP would have to move their rig, but that's the cost of screwing up.  I wonder if the extraordinary  efforts to contain and save the hole has anything to do with the $75M in campaign contributions Obama received?  Mmmmm……  meanwhile the gulf will suffer for decades.  This puppy could have been plugged in days and I have friends in the navy who are wondering the same thing.

  2. AMP73 on June 11, 2010 at 4:07 am

    What was that quote again…. "Daddy, have you plugged the hole yet"???  Well daddy, you can explain to her during her bedtime story that you can't go full steam ahead because we have a thing called the Jones Act that you could suspend right away and are instead sitting on your hands.  Everything I warned all my liberal loving friends about with this guy is coming true.  It is like he took a bullet list from me and is making sure it is now his "to do" list!

  3. Valerie on June 11, 2010 at 4:48 am

    By our current law there is a cap of 75 million dollars, paid toward damages, that BP will have to pay.  It appears as if the damages in the Gulf will exceed that due to the exceeded time that it's taking to clean up the mess.  I bet that had the Jones Act been suspended promtly the damges would have been lessened.  Lets watch BP say that if Obama had acted quickly the damages would not have exceeded 75 million and therefore they are not liable for costs exceeding the cap. 

  4. Dimsdale on June 11, 2010 at 5:38 am

    This just fries my butt!  Is it just me, or does it seem that the "THE BUCK STOPS HERE" sign only gets put out for Republican presidents after Truman?


    Ignorance, ineptitude and incompetence.  The apparent hallmarks of the Øbama administration.  But there has to be a point when you pull back, take a look at the big picture, and start to wonder if it is all just rank amateurism, or if there is a purpose behind it.  Not to sound too conspiracy minded, of course, but there ain't no such thing as coincidences, particularly when talking about politics.


    Politically speaking, it is much easier to walk on oil covered water than plain old water, particularly when you have to appease your greenie supporters.  Think about it: the prolongation of the oil spill suddenly gave Øbambi an out with off shore oil drilling, and a big push for his cap and tax and global "warming" legislative pushes.


    Emmanuel's rule:

    Never let a crisis go to waste.

    Dimsdale's corollary (based on current observations of Democrat action or inaction): prolong a crisis if it is to your benefit, you have the power to do so, and you can do it without getting caught.

  5. Dimsdale on June 11, 2010 at 5:47 am

    The Peter Principle: "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

    Dimsdale's corollary: politics accelerates the effects of the Peter Principle.


    And what about Affirmative Action?  Ever wonder why Øbama won't release his college transcripts?  Or ever wrote anything significant in the Harvard Law Review?  Or did anything significant with his freshly minted Harvard diploma?  Or is running the country into the ground?


    Maybe it is time for another corollary….

  6. lawhusky on June 11, 2010 at 5:55 am


    Right on about the political ramifications of delaying the cleanup!  This political sham irritated me enough to call in to Jim's show this morning.  No suspension of the Jones Act = delayed cleanup.  Obama making his big "I'm in control" speech = reinforcing his ability to delay the cleanup.   I don't know how far to take this idea, but it seems like every new piece of evidence supports this theory.  While I was talking to Jim, he played a quote re: BO's green energy push and it really was Exhibit A.


    My biggest issue is not that a politician would use a crisis for his own good.  That's been going on since the beginning of politics.  However,  I'm a passionate outdoorsman and I fished and hunted the areas affected by the spill while I was in college down South.  Obama is intentionally harming Americans and an amazing part of America for political gain.  Makes me sick.

  7. winnie888 on June 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

    SOS…like I said to Jim today, perhaps because Bush suspended the Jones Act after Katrina, Obama feels it's a bad idea to follow in his footsteps…How can you blame someone for so much and then emulate them?

    What I didn't get a chance to say is that perhaps Obama is waiting for the next president to come along and clean up the mess.

  8. Anne-EH on June 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    "Apparently, President Obama has refused to allow experts in oil spill cleanup to enter United States waters and assist in the cleanup."

    SOS, as I have been saying online as well as offline, even in a brief RANT to your brother, what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico is a COMPLETE SYSTIMATIC FAILURE. It is  a failure not only on the part of leadership or rather lack of, but of failure to have a plan of action from day 1.

    As for President Obama is concern, he will in most likelyhood to become a "OTP" or One Term President.

    • Anne-EH on June 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      PS to SOS and self: "in a brief classic rant today". Forgot to put that in. :)=^..6=

  9. Wind on June 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    SOS… Thank you for bringing this forward. It is amazing how many countries have incredible remedies for this kind of situation..why???  Because they have been there and are ahead of us. To completely ditz any help at this point is an act of treason in my book. Obama is a complete fool.  Dick morris was brilliant the other night showing the reasons of companies going out to Deep Water…and the royalty exemption. Thank you Mr. Clinton, I hope you and all the conservationists are happy now.  It is sad how common sense has left the arena of get rich quick agendas.  Keep the word going and with any luck ,this administration might hear and act to solving this disaster.

  10. JollyRoger on June 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    The Peter Principle and the Dimsdale’s corollary do not apply to Obama.  We're dealing with the Dilbert Principle:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dilbert_Principle

    • Dimsdale on June 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      The Dilbert Principle: "companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management (generally middle management), in order to limit the amount of damage they're capable of doing."


      You know, I would agree except that there was no intent to limit the amount of damage he is capable of doing, as exemplified by, well, anything he has done since he took office.  If anything, the intent sees to be deliberate, because nobody could be that incompetent.  Of course, I could be giving him far too much benefit of the doubt….


      Maybe this one is better: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice. – Hanlon's Razor.

    • Lucinda on June 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm


      Hanlon's Razor? Pure genius.

  11. Anne-EH on June 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Dims, you are once again is SPOT ON, and a BRILLIANT SPOT ON at that!

  12. fishergirl on June 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    OMG! I wrote in once before with a plan for a quick cleanup. Put all the 'big wigs' in life vests & put them smack in the middle of the oil spill. Then after 24 hours take them on shore & have them clean up the wild life & bury the ones that did not make it. Dear Lord what is wrong with this picture? I never imagined this could happen. If the oil was in 'their' back yard you bet something would have been done by now. Obama, I could do a better job than you are doing!

    Recind the Jones Act!!!!!!!!!!!! Get us the help we are being offered!

  13. phil on June 15, 2010 at 6:11 am

    This oil leak is not the young messiah's Katrina, and not his 9-11.  It's his Waterloo!

  14. Dimsdale on June 15, 2010 at 8:48 am

    And still, the sound of criticism from the Sierra Club and their ilk is that of one hand clapping….

    • PatRiot on June 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Crickets indeed.

      Mind you – IF all of the best US ships were being thrown at this problem ( any sound journalistic facts out there to confirm or deny this?) then all appropriate union members would be employed.  If the problem needs more resources, then the Jones Act has been honored and we can let in the help.

  15. meomystory on June 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Well? You know how they say that there are TWO SIDES to EVERY story??? Go to THIS link… Actually? THIS makes ME sick ALSO!!

    Foreign help on oil spill comes with a price tag

    Nearly two dozen nations offer cleanup aid but want to be reimbursed


    The U.S. needs to quit GIVING "FREE" HELP to "other countries"….. You WON'T BELIEVE THIS story either!!! Makes me want to vomit…. And? BTW… A whole lot of people WILL change their minds about MEXICO!! HA!! They are our ONLY "true ally"… wow… makes you wonder-


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