In hearings yesterday on Capitol Hill, Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior under Bush, said no one anticipated such a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Accompanied by Dirk Kempthorne, who succeeded Norton when she resigned in ’06, he affirmed that nobody did, not Congress, not the President, not the oil companies, no one. Okay…so, don’t blame it all on Bush, it’s Obama’s fault too. I get it, however an argument could be made that Bush and Cheney were in such a mad rush to deregulate the oil industry that as Henry Waxman said, an “air of permissiveness” pervaded the Interior Department, which led to the Mineral Management Service not doing an adequate job. This reasoning would also seem fair.
What isn’t fair is that in these two instances, be it the Army Corp of Engineers or the MMS, under Bush and Obama neither agency did their jobs and in one instance thousands of people died while in another, tens of thousands of people lost everything while an ecosystem is being destroyed.
Yes, we can sit back and say, as in the case of Norton and Kempthorne, nobody anticipated either one of these man made disasters so it’s okay they didn’t too, as their comments would seem to imply, or we can ask, why not? Why didn’t Congress ask about such a huge oil spill, why didn’t the MMS? Why didn’t Ken Salazar, Gale Norton, Dick Kempthorne, Bush, Obama…why didn’t anyone ask about it, or the levees?
Answer that question, studiously and with an eye for solutions, and then make sure it never happens again, not just in Louisiana but across the United States. For example, take the levee system that is disintegrating, rupturing in the valleys of California…will the Department of Interior start asking now? Or will it wait until another community goes through another tragedy that could have been averted, maybe even a community the United States Government gives a damn about?
Maybe it’s even past time for asking questions. Perhaps, it’s time for demands.
Perhaps, just perhaps…it’s also time for somebody to go to jail.
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Have a nice day.