Obama Administration Ignored Warnings From NOAA That It Was Underestimating Risks of Spills

Officials at NOAA told the Obama Administration that it was underestimating the rate and risk of spills before the President announced his controversial decision to open up coastal areas to drilling in March. Analysts also noted that there were serious problems in responding to spills.

For environmentalists, the dismissal of such concern reminds them of the Bush Administration, which tended to ignore advice that didn’t fit its political agenda. While the Bush Administration ignored data on weapons of mass destruction, the Obama Administration appears to have dismissed data on environmental mass destruction.

The White House is clearly not happy with the leaked warnings and NOAA officials have come out to stress that they were heeded on other warnings. Experts at the Congressional Research Service and other organizations are cited as warning that “[r]ecent annual data indicate that the overall decline of annual spill events may have stopped’ and that ‘[t]he threat of oil spills raises the question of whether U.S. officials have the necessary resources at hand to respond to a major spill. There is some concern that the favorable U.S. spill record has resulted in a loss of experienced personnel, capable of responding quickly and effectively to a major oil spill.”

For the story, click here.

Kudos: Elaine M.

88 thoughts on “Obama Administration Ignored Warnings From NOAA That It Was Underestimating Risks of Spills

  1. Now we’re getting somewhere.

    The problem is particularized injury and particularized cause. Smog in LA can be shown to be the cause of a certain number of deaths per year and certainly degrades the quality of life for millions yet it is not caused by a single source. In fact, the ‘carrying capacity’ of the planet is negatively effected by the cumulative pollution of worldwide industry as it overall quality of life. This is a global problem that has no individual solution – i.e. while cap and trade is a (small) step in the right direction (although not without its flaws), nothing you’ve suggested can possibly work. I believe that the logical extension of property rights to properties that are ‘owned’ by humanity as a whole makes the conclusions I’ve presented inescapable and that denial of this is tantamount to a massive corporate subsidy at the expense of our posterity. I’m not willing to rob your grandkid’s quality of life to give corporations more money because of the fear they will pass along the cost to me – that’s how the free market is supposed to work – you get what you pay for. Why you want companies to get something for nothing is beyond me. I don’t believe that companies have a ‘right’ to pollute any more than I have a right to vandalize your property.

  2. Buddha:

    I know quite a few adults who like Rand, they are for the most part quite decent individuals. If I understand the philosophy of PNAC correctly – projection of American values by force around the world, I am pretty sure she would be against that organization as well.

    But thank you for the suggestion, I will take it under advisement🙂 By the way I dont agree with everything she has to say but then I doubt you disagree with everything she has to say.

    As far as Jefferson and corporations go, I would be interested in more of what he had to say about them. I only can find the one quote. And so you will excuse me if I don’t put my faith in one snippet of his voluminous writings nor do I ever see the comment in context with what is going on historically. I would be in your debt if you would provide me with some additional thoughts of his on corporations.

    I might also remind you that Jefferson was a supporter of the French Revolution, at least initially and came to regret his support once he had determined the actual nature of that bloody abomination against the rights of man. Although brilliant, apparently not exempt from making a mistake once in awhile.

    Jefferson was always thinking and making changes to how he viewed things although he did have, at least in my mind, an overarching philosophy on which he based his opinions.

  3. Byron,

    I would note that neither Jefferson nor Locke nor Rand were aware of the global impact of industrial pollution when they wrote.

  4. Slarti:

    First off I dont think companies have a “right” to pollute because that is soiling my den and I have a right to a clean den.

    I am a little unclear on how this would be a corporate subsidy and why they would be getting something for nothing. I am also unclear on how government is going to use the tax money to clean my den once it has been soiled.

  5. Slarti:

    I am trying to figure this out, you have to start from some premise and move along testing the pros and cons. I may come out of this agreeing with you or at least having a better understanding of why I am currently thinking like I am or why you are thinking the way you are.

    I agree that pollution is a negative.

  6. Byron said:

    “I am a little unclear on how this would be a corporate subsidy and why they would be getting something for nothing. I am also unclear on how government is going to use the tax money to clean my den once it has been soiled.”

    Companies current ‘soil our den’ by dumping toxic waste into the air, water and soil. They do this because it is cheaper (generally free) than disposing of it safely (or as safely as possible). i.e. they make more money at the cost of the public health and the public’s quality of life. This is a gigantic subsidy to industry.

    Byron said:

    Slarti:

    I am trying to figure this out, you have to start from some premise and move along testing the pros and cons. I may come out of this agreeing with you or at least having a better understanding of why I am currently thinking like I am or why you are thinking the way you are.

    I agree that pollution is a negative.

    That’s a good idea – I’ve got to take care of some things right now, but I will think about this and write a post explaining my argument from the beginning – at the very least we should be able to determine where we disagree. We’ll start with the postulate that pollution is a negative and go from there…

  7. Byron,

    One quick note to answer your question – pollution tax money could go into something like superfund and be used for environmental cleanup projects.

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