Via the New York Times:
BP officials on Saturday scrambled yet again to respond to another public relations challenge when their embattled chief executive, Tony Hayward, spent the day off the coast of England watching his yacht compete in one of the world’s largest races.
. . . BP’s previous disaster on American soil, when oil was discovered leaking from a 16-mile stretch of corroded BP pipeline in Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. And that was just a year after a BP refinery explosion in Texas City, Tex., killed 15 workers and injured hundreds more.
The accidents should have been the wake-up call BP needed to change that [shortcut] culture. But the mistakes and negligence that took place on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico — which are so profound that everyone I spoke to in the oil business found them truly inexplicable — suggest that [BP executives] never did much more than mouth nice-sounding platitudes.
Meanwhile over at the Wall Street Journal, Saturday was Bash President day, with Peggy Noodnik dubbing Barack Obama “A Snakebit President,” and the Journal’s always high-alert editors opining “The President Does a Jones Act.”
President Obama has repeatedly said his Administration is doing everything in its power to expedite the oil clean-up and mitigate the damage. But in the two weeks immediately after the spill, 13 foreign governments reached out and offered their assistance. The U.S. response? Thanks, but no thanks.
At least according to Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston. Offers of help have come from other European countries as well, the Journal editorial notes:
The Belgian dredging group DEME says it has offered the U.S. specialized vessels and technology that can help clean up the spill in three to four months compared to the estimated nine months that the U.S. will need. There are only a handful of these vessels in the world, and most of them belong to Dutch and Belgian companies. So why aren’t we calling on them?
Blame it on the protectionist Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also called the Jones Act, that requires ships working in U.S. waters to be built, operated and owned by Americans.
So it’s Obamalove for his “union friends” that’s keeping him from cleaning up the Gulf gaffe. “Presidents can suspend the Jones Act in emergencies, as George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina,” the Journal helpfully reminds us.
And we all know how well that worked out.