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4 Jun, 2010 21:19

Is the BP oil spill Obama’s Katrina?

A month after a BP oil rig explosion led to crude oil spilling directly into the Gulf of Mexico, many are becoming increasingly angry with the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis.

Criticism of US President Barack Obama and his administration is high. Many believe Obama has not visited the region enough, has not done enough to address public anger over the lack of accountability on the part of BP and some are even calling the spill Obama’s Katrina.

Where have you [Obama] been? The response of this has been inadequate,” said J.P. Freire, the associate editor of commentary with the Washington Examiner.

The American public is angry both at BP and Obama.

This man [Obama] is not playing the part of the ‘Feeler-in-chief, he’s not expressing enough of the outrage the American public feels,” said Freire.

Freire said that BP ought to be held accountable and that new reforms are needed to prevent similar crisis in the future. While BP is certainly at fault, Obama is likely to be blamed and suffer politically due to the increasing amount of time it is taking him to get his message out and solve the problem.

It’s going to last when people say why are you taking so long with this sort of thing. That can be a refrain that comes up throughout the rest of his presidency,” said Freire.

Conservatives in America have been strong critics of Obama’s handling of the issue, yet they continue to oppose further government regulations, reforms and policy changes to solve the problem.

BP has this oil lease, has a seabed lease from the federal government. So, it’s automatically a federal issue which means that it’s the federal government’s responsibility to deal with this well. So, conservatives being upset about how the federal response is not good is entirely consistent with that view,” said Freire.

However, conservatives have been continually critical of a government decision to halt oil drilling at about 30 other oil rig locations.

Freire argues that there is no need to freeze the drilling at other sites simply because of the PB spill, stating that the other sites are being inspected more diligently now and should be able to continue operations.

I would not say that the best thing to do would be to halt all oil production entirely. Because, again, this has only happened once in 40 years,” said Freire.

Off-shore drilling should continue, but needs to be more heavily regulated to ensure such disasters do not occur in the future, said Freire.