Monday, May 03, 2010

Deepwater Horizon and similarities to Katrina

I'm starting to see some calls in the blogosphere and the news that Obama
should have reacted sooner to the disaster in the gulf. There are some similarities
and some differences between this disaster and when Katrina hit, and in the
same waythat it was unfair how much blame Bush took for Katrina, maybe we
shouldn't throw too many stones at Obama.

For the It's Obama's fault side:

This was a disaster out at sea, in federal waters, no one else had any regulatory oversight
There was no collateral damage like Katrina where the major roads and interstates were
cut at multiple places, the feds had free access all the way to Venice, LA.
There was no raging storm blocking everything.
There was full information available, the people who knew best what was happening were
available for interviews after less than a day at sea.

For the it's not Obama's fault side:

The federal government does not have a magic wand to sooth all hurts instantly.
From where I sit, the leak didn't seem very bad for several days. At first it seemed
like the oil was coming from fuel onboard. (very similar to Katrina, where the storm passed
and everything seemed ok for several hours.)
BP was making noises very similar to the ones fema made before Katrina, 'we're
prepared, we've got miles of booms', etc.

Reading over my partial lists, the key difference here is that during Katrina there
was a bad ass storm that destroyed infrastructure from east of Baton Rouge to
Florida, short of dropping the 82nd airborne into N.O. there wasn't much more
that was possible and due to politcal problems the Governor of LA never asked
for help until later, a requirement for federal troops to come, so really it was a city
and state problem.

The deepwater horizon was a purely federal problem, the states have no input
to safety in federal waters, get only a small portion of money from the 8g fund
and aren't involved in licensing, safety reviews or inspections. The Feds have complete
authority over the operation, can stop drilling, intervene in well designs, after the
fire had full visual coverage of the disaster and had people on the ground while
the disaster was unfolding.

I'm changing my answer, it's Obama's fault.

(I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid, if I offend I'm sorry. I don't think he bears any more responsibility than bush did for the sloppy response to Katrina)

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