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.”
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Kudos: Elaine M.