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Congress' Gulf Oil Spill Response Given a 'D' By Commissioners 129

ananyo writes "Many of the problems that led to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill have not been addressed, say the members of a commission set up by U.S. President Barack Obama to study the disaster. The group released a report today (PDF) on progress towards its 2011 recommendations for preventing future disasters and improving spill response. The U.S. Congress fares worst in the new report, earning a 'D' rating for its failure to enact any meaningful legislation in response to the disaster. The Restore Act would allocate 80% of any fines that BP pays for the spill under the Clean Water Act to restoring the environment and economies of the states in the Gulf of Mexico, but the act has stalled in the House of Representatives. The Obama administration did better, with a B, thanks in part to new drilling regulations, while the oil industry's efforts to improve safety saw it awarded a C+."
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Congress' Gulf Oil Spill Response Given a 'D' By Commissioners

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  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:32PM (#39713673)

    They scored an "A" on fund-raising from oil companies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As well as protecting them from corporate liability(fine was absolutely trivial compared to harm done), competition from the rest of society(government not only subsidizes oil companies, but restricts harvesting to those who are given contracts), and personal accountability for executives(any of them see a dime of cost for their actions?).

      The commission itself was a joke from its inception. The only criteria of which a government sanctioned investigation like this will approve is more control and involvemen

    • Well, this D does translate to a Aaa* in financial terms, which is practically junk status.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In a related note, BP gave Congress' an A+ on their response to the oil spill.

  • Self-evaluation. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GodInHell ( 258915 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:35PM (#39713723) Homepage
    Obama's administration gave itself a 'B' . . . dude needs to learn how "patting yourself on the back" is supposed to work.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Norwell Bob ( 982405 )
      Oh, I'd say he's got a pretty good grasp on it. Remember how modest he was when he roped in with SEAL Team 6 and personally shot Bin Laden?
      • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:01PM (#39714079)
        Still two orders of magnitude below flying onto an aircraft carrier deck in a flight suit under a huge "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" sign.
        • by Norwell Bob ( 982405 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:10PM (#39714247)
          We need a new Godwin's Law regarding the invocation of Bush. The parent specifically brought up Obama's administration... but you can't make a criticism of Obama without people immediately saying something along the lines of, "Yeah? Well, what about the time that Bush did yada-yada-yah? Huh?"

          Also, I realize I am opening up a whole new branch of Bush-as-Hitler metaphors. Resist the temptation, people. That shit is old.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            The difference is Bush actually did what I said, while the GP is just making shit up. Also, I seem to remember an awful lot of Clinton blow-job jokes during the Bush years. Sauce for the goose and all.
          • The parent specifically brought up Obama's administration.

            To be precise, TFA brought up the Obama administration, I was just commenting on the silliness of the Obama Administration effectively giving itself a 'B' grade.

            We need a new Godwin's Law regarding the invocation of Bush.

            So in this analogy Bush is Hitler? That is, in and of itself a reverse Godwin. You're invoking Hitler to argue that there's something fallacious about referencing the Obama administration's immediate predecessor in power as a reference point for their behavior. The problem is that the reference is so incredibly ugly in the popular conscience that

            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              by sycodon ( 149926 )

              So in this analogy Bush is Hitler?

              It would seem that many fervently believe this in general. And they invoke Bush in the same manner as they do Hitler.

              • The same could be said about Obama. At least Bush is rarely accused of being secretly planted in the United States by Kenyan muslims on the odd chance the son of a single mom in Hawaii might one day become president and impose sharia on us all . . . or whatever.

                The comment above re: Bush is explicit and specific on a single point. "Mission Accomplished" is part of U.S. History now. It's both impractical and frankly unrealistic to expect the 75% or so of the nation that dislikes President Bush to stop me
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by sycodon ( 149926 )

                  Now, that's a narrative I've yet to hear.

                  The fact is that the Left and Obama in particular have used Bush as an excuse for everything. They do so to excess, to the point of it being a Saturday Night Live parody.

                  As for going back 8 years, things were going as well as could be expected after 9/11 until about 2007, when the Dems got a hold of the check book again.

                  I, for one, do look back with fondness on the dollar something a gallon gas and the 4 something percent unemployment rate.

                  • Can we acknowledge the government has effectively ZERO CONTROL over oil prices? They have abundant levers that may affect oil prices but have no control over them. As it stands taxes are around 10-20% of a gallon of gas at any given time. Speculation and world demand have driven gas prices up. To compare and contrast is just obtuse. When Bush was in office I wasn't letting myself or anybody I knew actually blame him for gas prices being high, I made a point of defending him as much as I hated to. He i

                  • Dollar gas and low unemployment? You miss Clinton too, huh? It's okay... I won't tell.
            • You hit the nail on the head. I think it's much like comparing Lincoln to Buchanan. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

            • by doston ( 2372830 )
              Yeah, how could anybody be worse than Hitler? []
          • If you're going to get upset when somebody makes a valid comparison because the valid comparison makes your personal views look bad maybe you should stop and think about it? The argument here (and it is a fairly weak one) is that Pres. Obama somehow took much more credit than he should have and is somehow claiming to be personally responsible for Bin Laden's death. Now I fail to see this as it was a Fox News talking point shortly after the reality set in that he did something that the previous president c

          • I'm sure the Republicans would love your new law. Just like the stupid "Godwin!!!" posts that do nothing other than derail any conversation involving Nazi Germany, the Republicans could use this new law to derail any conversation about Bush they don't like.

      • Remember how modest he was when he roped in with SEAL Team 6 and personally shot Bin Laden?

        No. I do remember when he came out and calmly announced that the Obama administration had ordered SEAL Team 6 to go into Pakistan and kill them some Terrorist assholes. I think you can comfortably assume that you will see Obama taking a few more victory laps on killing Osama. You will also have to get used to seeing it in places like text books, because that shit was history in the making.

        • by sycodon ( 149926 )

          I remember that announcement....

          "I...I...I...I...My...I...My...I....I...I..." etc.

          • "I...I...I...I...My...I...My...I....I...I..." etc.

            Pay attention now. Obama uses personal pronouns less than any modern president. Yes, there has been empirical analysis on the topic. In particular, I refer you to the work of James W. Pennebaker, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who specialises in the use of pronouns.

            None of this matters, of course, because political discourse continues to devolve to "four-legs-good, obama-bad" for the right. One might reasonably think that the left is just as bad, and they are pretty bad; howe

            • by sycodon ( 149926 )

              Poor little leftist thinks Obama is being unfairly attacked.

              They fact is that your guy took credit for the raid. He made it seem as if HE put into place the mechanisms to find him, HE made some difficult decision to go ahead and then lauded himself for making it.

              If you can't see that, all I can say is that the Kool Aid has blurred your vision.

    • by na1led ( 1030470 )
      The class room loser who fails the test, but gives himself a B.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      So I noticed. But to be fair, they did *something* and congress did *nothing*, so they're justified in giving themselves at least an C.

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )
      I know this is a naive question, but should they perhaps be forcing the companies to do something and fining them instead of "evaluating"? Are they done now?
      Congress seems to act like a cheer-leading squad, with all those non-binding resolutions and evaluations.
  • Hmmm...I think Congress should get an "A" if the goal is "progress towards...preventing future disasters" and the Restore Act is basically a slush fund that delivers "80% of any fines that BP pays for the spill under the Clean Water Act to...the states".

  • Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl@e x c> on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:40PM (#39713783) Journal

    The administration ought to get an 'F', given that they've approved Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean. You think it's tough to clean up a spill in the nice temperate Gulf of Mexico? Wait until we have a midwinter blowout up there, with no idea how to clean it up or even stop it.

    You'd think they'd at least learn something. Apparently not.

    • Keep in mind that over 200ft below water is essentially the same anywhere on the globe: it's cold, dark, and shit just doesn't work like you might expect to... This should discourage drilling in favor of easier methods, but people are stupid as a whole and particularly persistent.
  • by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:42PM (#39713843) Journal

    ... for doing nothing. This was, as I understand it, more a problem of lax regulation than lack of regulation.

    I don't like the "but we must do SOMEthing" philosophy. Most problems are caused by solutions.

    • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:48PM (#39713937) Homepage Journal

      BUT BUT BUT BUT the free market will take care of it! Incentives and all that shit.

      The free market doesn't work when the fat cats have control over all the levers of government. This just shows it once again.

      • BUT BUT BUT BUT the free market will take care of it! Incentives and all that shit.
        Is your supposition that the best laws [] arise []in response to a crisis [] before cooler heads can prevail?
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      I would think that in this case, the proper something to do is spank the regulators that were so lax so that in future the existing regulations will be applied.

      There's no point in new regulations if they will be enforced like the current ones.

    • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:21PM (#39714443) Homepage

      I don't like the "but we must do SOMEthing" philosophy. Most problems are caused by solutions.

      I'll agree with your disagreement. Government solutions usually need more solutions.

      Story time! I have an in-law who works for a certain energy company that had a pipeline leak within the past few years (it's not BP, and I honestly don't remember the name). He's a manager for a department of about a hundred people whose primary job is to produce reports to accommodate whatever silly requests the government agents want. Among the requests I've heard about:

      • Daily updates on the age of a pipeline
      • Metallurgical review of a piece of pipe, confirmed by four independent metallurgists
      • A list of all airplanes who would be crossing the area during repairs
      • Justification for every piece of equipment (including things like radios and portable toilets) at the repair site
      • Marital statuses of all construction workers

      As it was explained to me, the vast majority of those agents were contractors, who make requests simply to look like they're doing something, which then entitles them to a piece of the government's clean-up money. The energy company faces enormous fines for not complying with every request, no matter how ridiculous the request or how indirect the connection to the incident may be. The end result is that the government money goes to producing useless reports, the company's repair efforts get less funding, and my in-law has a job.

      • Contractors, eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So you mean private individuals whose position comes on them creating some reason to justify their employment?

        How exactly is the problem with government as a whole, as opposed to the privatization of government into the hands of those who benefit not by doing their job properly, but who have corrupted the process for their own benefit?

        What does that tell you? Which party is the one who continually claims that outside individuals are somehow going to be better? Whose ideology is that?

    • Most problems are caused by solutions.

      Wrong. Most problems are caused by empty platitudes. Why do you hate America?

    • Its all a big scam anyway. Who is really capable of writing meaningful safety regulations? Only people in the industry with the experience. So who do you pick in the industry to write the regulations? Your biggest donors of course. And when they write the regulations you can be sure they will write them in order to benefit them.

      It's like the lead paint in toys. The big toy makers wrote regulations that made it near impossible for startup companies to comply even if they made the toys themselves and had full

  • Typically it's way over the top and far more harmful than good.
    So I'm going to say it's a good thing they got a D there.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Our government only managed to scrap through with a (averaged) grade of C, and it got to grade its own work.

    It's good to see that democracy is working so well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    failure to enact any meaningful legislation in response to the

    That's one of the problems when you mix corporations and capitalism. It takes legislation to make companies behave in an appropriate manner. BP should have made sure that a complete disaster would not occur. Taking risks and ignoring social responsibilities is a moral and ethical problem within corporate cultures. BP execs should have been punished way beyond the slap on the wrist. BP should not even exist today.

  • by Iniamyen ( 2440798 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:58PM (#39714057)
    In other news, the commissioners were given an 'A+' on their use of overly simplified letter grades for summarizing complex issues.
    • by Anonymous Coward
  • A commission set up by Obama rates the Obama administration highest of all. And this comes as a surprise to...who exactly?

    Of course, they couldn't give Obama an A. That would just be gratuitous bootlicking.

  • congressional approval is the worst ever. nobody thinks they are doing a job.

    Congress gets an F.

  • A commission set up to evaluate the work done by Barack Obama's commission tasked with evaluating the work of Congress in evaluating the Deepwater Horizon incident has given the commission a rating of 'C', or barely satisfactory, for their evaluation of Congress evaluating the Deepwater Horizon spill.
  • Please tell me there's more to this report than that PDF. It's hopelessly light on details and is full of weasel words, it talks about concerns without an indication of how well founded they were. There are no real figures, no expert opinions, citations or anything. There isn't even much indication of how they arrived at their grades.

    If I wrote an essay the way this report is written I'd have got a fail.
  • ...can screw things up and get a passing grade. BP fired people who might be responsible for this mess, and our Government gets a pat on the back for doing nothing to protect our waters. I wish I could cheat on my tests, and give myself a B when I got all the wrong answers.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    .... it is funny that the accident in the Gulf of Mexico was in part responsible for a very harsh response to a tiny spill just south of the equator:

    If anything, other countries have tried to learn from this disaster and the way it was handled.

  • Fill in the blanks: Congress' __________ Response Given a 'D' By ___________
  • ...or not.

    "any fines that BP pays"

    I remain sceptical as to the paying part.

  • Oil spills are illegal. How about that?

    Honestly, not everything can be fixed by Congress. Sometimes, the administration has to step up, enforce the laws and regulations they've got and kick some ass when they see violations.

    The Restore Act would allocate 80% of any fines that BP pays for the spill under the Clean Water Act to restoring the environment and economies of the states in the Gulf of Mexico,

    I see the law of unintended consequences coming into play here, big time. So now, gov't revenues in support of various economic recovery programs will be linked to oil spills?

  • Provides more Fuck US; So, nothing new and all change is bad?

  • Many of the problems that led to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill have not been addressed, say the members of a commission set up by U.S. President Barack Obama to study the disaster.

    If you look at who released the report [] you'll see that the commission set up by the President completed its work and was disbanded. This report was issued by an environmental action group which claims some previous commission members among its founders.

    I assume these people are pushing their own agenda, maybe because its an election year, maybe because they really care. But I note that they are all Obama appointees.

  • Of course this is just another rant against the big machine covering everything up, but making small efforts here and there to make it look like they actually care to their people....but all in all, there should have been way more activity then there was on this issue, but as we saw, a lot of media was redirected to other things instead of reading about the spill non stop years later, being it was the biggest disaster man made or other wise ever to hit this planet since man
    came into power.....when you consi

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