If the latest BP “Top Kill” strategy fails, should the Obama administration take the reins?
This is the argument being made by Andrew C. Revkin at the NYT Dot Earth blog. It’s not so much that the U.S. Government should take over, argues Revkin, but law requires it to do so where BP has yet to succeed.
“Here’s the legal reality. At the Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard blog, a staff attorney, David Pettit, has posted language in the Clean Water Act, which was amended through the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, that appears clearly to vest the president with both the authority and the obligation to take the reins in a major oil spill where private actions have failed…”
Revkin adds: “Move over, BP.”
As Revkin also recognizes, the U.S. Government really doesn’t want to own this mess. But even if it is true that BP is best equipped to solve this problem, the US should take the lead anyway and use BP’s expertise – along with the expertise from others around the world.
Even if the U.S. legally doesn’t have to do so, and the Obama administration doesn’t want to own this, eventually the fingers will point in their direction anyway. Stepping into a larger role is the only way for the Administration to save some face – and perhaps even gain some respect for their problem solving and management skills in the process. But this gusher of crude slusher must be stopped.