Barack Obama gave his State of the Union speech last night and did his best George W Bush impression by not mentioning Louisiana and coastal restoration. He also did his best to avoid such a foreign concept as global warming, and when it came to Ken Feinberg’s GCCF and that oil spill, that whole British Petroleum thing that happened down there in the Gulf, well…
It would appear that was so last year.
Too bad that for the people of the Gulf Coast, it remains so today, so right now.
From Florida Oil Spill Law:
“Really Alarming” No baby oysters being found in most productive areas of Louisiana – “Scientists are baffled.”
“All the fish are dead” Trout now washing up on beach near Galveston, TX.
Bumble Bee Seafood shuts down processing plant near New Orleans, moves to Thailand – Official blames oil disaster.
And then, some congressional democrat had to further go and screw up Obama’s lack of mention by bringing up a few e-mails to point out that the Fed’s whole response, or lack of response can be blamed in part by, you guessed it, public relations and politics:
A Democratic congressman wrote a scathing letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama accusing the White House of valuing public relations over science when it made public pronouncements about the effects of the BP oil spill and the government’s role in fighting it. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., a liberal conservationist and avowed opponent of expanded offshore drilling, charges that spin control won out over scientific reasoning during discussions late last summer about how much oil remained in the Gulf. The congressman went so far as to liken Obama’s handling of scientific information to that of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, often accused by Democrats of placing his political agenda ahead of science.
Didn’t he pledge to do precisely the opposite?
Many scientists supported Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 which culminated in the promise to “restore science to its rightful place” in his inaugural address.
Course, then the science got a bit inconvenient to poll numbers, public perception, and the new narrative that all is well in the Gulf…reported on national television by the now resigned, Carol Browner.
In one e-mail cited by Grijalva, a NOAA official complained about getting “strong pushback” from the White House regarding scientists’ plan to announce that the total amount of oil spilled might be higher than the official government-endorsed figure of 4.9 million barrels. The final report stuck with the 4.9 million barrel figure, which was near the high end of the scientists’ estimate of 3 million-5 million barrels spilled.
Another e-mail sent July 31 from Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe warned that it would be a mistake to present the exact percentage of the oil broken down by chemical dispersants, a controversial part of the government’s response, because the numbers were only “rough estimates.” But he was overruled and told the White House wanted a “communication product” that would highlight the success of its spill-fighting efforts.
And just as interesting, turns out one of the “independent” scientists who assisted in the review of the infamous oil budget that stated half the oil was gone, was a British Petroleum official whose name was removed from later drafts and not included in the final version of the report.
To which, Representative Issa expresses the obvious concern:
I am concerned not only about any changes BP may have suggested to the report that were not publicly disclosed, but about how a report of this magnitude can be considered independent when the company under investigation had a staffer review a pre-publication draft.
And this brings us all back to last night’s State of the Union address.
The SOTU highlights an agenda, the presidential agenda and it attempts to set the agenda out there for the American people and the mainstream press to follow, to report on, to discuss. When the science doesn’t support the narrative that the Gulf is okay, when the facts don’t support the idle dream that the people in the Gulf are being taken care of or British Petroleum is owning up to its responsibility, this president who promised to bring science back into the fold and not ignore the Gulf Coast, did what the previous president did, and many of the presidents did before him, he simply left the problem off the agenda, dismissed it from the speech altogether and in doing so sat idly by while the whole issue of the spill, the claims process and coastal restoration is left to drift further from the minds of the average American.
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida had a chance last night to be put back in the spotlight as they rightfully should have been. British Petroleum had the chance to have the scrutiny placed back onto their promise to “make things right.” Ken Feinberg had the chance, two days before his appearance at congress, to be put on notice that the White House wants answers.
But instead, Barack Obama gave nothing, no mention, just like George W Bush before him during Katrina’s aftermath. It took a congressman from Arizona of all places to raise the question of politics in the Gulf Coast response.
And today, the Gulf Coast still waits for Obama’s answer.
Have a nice day.