“Between a Rock and a Hard Place"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, June 12, 2010

In a column published over a month ago (May 3), I made a mistake. I was sure I would never make another one — but I did. My critics missed it so I have to acknowledge it myself.

Everyone has been asking, “who said, ‘drill baby drill?’” and there was much confusion over the author of that statement. I actually credited the President as saying it in my column.

The famous statement belongs on the other side of the aisle with Republican Party spokespersons Sarah Palin and RNC Chairman Michael Steel. Although I remain non-partisan, I apologize to the Democrats and President Obama and the Republican Chairman and Sarah Palin for improperly crediting the statement (now on everyone’s lips) to the wrong party/person.

I must say at the date I write this column, June 4, it appears our President can do nothing right. Apparently he made appointments to a group of which he had no awarenes: Minerals Management Service (MMS). When it crumbled, he admitted he had no idea how the head people departed.

I have read statements and heard reports that many elected officials in Washington had never heard of MMS. When the agency was credited with possible responsibility for the Horizon oil explosion disaster in the Gulf, within hours, news broadcasts told of its many faults and omissions of duty.

MMS has since been credited with many oversights involving inspections and delivery of permits to oil drilling sites.

It appears the public and most of the news media feel it is necessary to point a finger of blame at the President and believe he is not showing enough concern about the problems related to the spill. One commentator remarked, “The President had a blank look on his face when asked how he felt about the spill.” What is to be expected? Does everyone want to see a grown man, our President in tears?

It seems to me there has been enough crying, on all of our parts, to go around.

There is widespread public reaction saying the President is not doing his job. Some say he should step in and take over control of activities in the Gulf and push BP out of the way. Why would anyone believe our President would know more about how to handle petroleum problems than those in the industry? There are those who claim the President is caving in to the demands of BP. I have not heard the President say, “I want my life back,” yet when BP’s CEO was interviewed, that is what he said. I have not heard Tony Hayward, BP’s leader, say he will forgo his golden parachute or give up his huge raise of last year to contribute to the clean up. He just wants “his life back.” Just think about this, perhaps because of an objective to save a few dollars by using inferior materials, 11 men will never get their lives back. They are gone forever. Hundreds of jobs are gone affecting hundreds of families whose livelihoods will probably never come back.

When the President responded to request for a moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf, it halted work on many rigs. There were immediate protests from many workers who rely on work on the rigs to pay their bills and feed their families. This is evidence of the President being caught between a rock and a hard place. He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

I believe the President when he says he is “furious” about the way the spill has been handled. I also am confident Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen is the very best man the President could have put on the job to oversee clean up efforts and continued attempts to stop the leak. There is a very large workforce whose needs change daily. The sand berms being built should be helpful to control the oil’s flow. The vessels with skimmers require manpower to capture the loose oil on the surface. Persons on shore shoveling oil into bags to be hauled to disposal sites represent a very large workforce.

I would like to know why BP ordered workers they hired not to talk to anyone other than BP representatives. What is gained by these directives other than an appearance of guilt for the situation? BP should realize there is enough blame to go around. The birds, turtles, fish, crab, otters and other Gulf wildlife have no voice, they can’t complain to anyone. Their cries go unheard.

We can all be grateful for the volunteers who are working with great diligence to gather and clean the critters, alleviating their suffering. These folks are angels of mercy, perhaps saving some species from extinction. If people want to see tears, just show up at one of the clean up sites as the workers lose one of the oil coated animals.

As the oil continues to gush into the Gulf it may change the food chain and life as it was known in and around the Gulf forever. As I see it, it appears the accident could have been prevented. What is being done now to ensure another similar accident does not occur?

Return to Home Page of Tipsforboating.com


Copyright © Fred Davis. All rights reserved.