Oversight Report Slams Obama ‘Failure’ on Oil Spill

Monday, August 16, 2010
By Paul Martin

Matt Cover
Monday, August 16, 2010

A new oversight report from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, details what many analysts see as the failures of the Obama administration during the Gulf oil spill.

The report lays out the ways in which the administration either failed to exercise authority it had or acted in ways that hindered the massive cleanup effort, pointing out that President Barack Obama appeared less than focused on the country’s largest environmental disaster in history.

“President Obama and Administration officials failed in several instances to remove regulatory and bureaucratic impediments, and to ensure that proper and adequate resources were available to address the BP disaster,” the report states.

Inhofe’s report maintains that President Obama had ample authority to personally take charge of the cleanup effort and faults him for not exercising this authority. Citing the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 – enacted in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska – the report says that Obama could have personally assumed command of the cleanup effort, instead of leaving it in the hands of BP officials and cabinet members.

“One of the central statutes governing the federal government’s response to an oil spill is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA),” the report says. “The OPA specifies that the President shall ensure effective and immediate removal, mitigation, or prevention of a substantial threat to human health and welfare.”

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