Weekend Efforts Fail
It promises to be a mar on the Obama presidency.
President Barack Obama huddled with advisors this weekend over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after the latest failure by BP to stop the leak by the so-called “top kill” method.
At a containment/ cleanup price of $990 million so far, BP is still seeing upward of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels seeping into Gulf waters every day.
The White House is sending out top energy advisor, Carol Browner to answer questions.
Talking to MSNBC Tuesday morning, she said the federal government has been and continues to be in charge.
“We’ve always been in charge,” she told reporters, adding that the federal government has brought in 100 of the best minds from the private and government sectors including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, part of what she called the “brain trust.”
Late Add* President Obama told reporters in the Rose Garden Tuesday that the administration is ready to triple the manpower and that those responsible will be prosecuted for this the "greatest environmental disaster of its kind in history."
"My solemn pledge is we will bring those responsible to justice," he said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is meeting with federal and state prosecutors in New Orleans to determine what groundwork needs to be established to pursue a criminal investigation.
“We always knew the relief wells in August would be the permanent solution. Meanwhile we tried to cap it. Now there is an effort to try and contain it,” said Browner.
BP’s latest effort involves lowering a dome over a broken riser pipe. Robots today will cut the pipe with sheers and diamond cut saw so BP engineers can lower a dome to stop the leak from the blowout preventer valve.
The ultimate relief may have to wait until August.
BP is digging two relief wells into the seabed to work on plugging the leak permanently, but they will not be ready until then. The incentive for BP is money. The government plans to fine BP per barrel per day that leaks into the Gulf, one reason Browner says the government wants to know just how much oil is leaking into the Gulf since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers.
Who is in charge, ask NBC reporters. Does BP report to the government?
“I don’t think it’s changed, it’s the same since the beginning. BP is the responsible party that means they will pay for all of this and they act at the government’s direction and nothing has changed,” said Browner.
Tom Brokaw asked does the government have the power to veto BP decisions in the Gulf?
“Yes the government can say 'no'” said Browner.
“BP has the technology has the robots and they have vessels important to this effort. Don’t for one minute think we haven’t put our best minds in the room. They are there and will continue to be there.”
So far 29 dolphins have turned up dead and 227 seat turtles collected in the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. The National Wildlife Federation believes it’s the tip of the iceberg.
Louisiana's wetlands are the worst hit so far, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts winds may start moving the oil closer to the Mississippi and Alabama coasts.
Meanwhile financially for BP shares have plummeted on the London financial market when it opened Tuesday. #