A Wisconsin congressman praises President Obama for pressuring BP into creating a $20 billion escrow fund to help pay for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico. La Crosse Democrat Ron Kind is a member of the House Environment and Natural Resources committee, which grilled BP executives earlier this week. Kind disagrees with Republican politicians who say Obama has not acted promptly on the oil spill. “He’s up against expectations,” said Kind. “All the criticism he’s come under, there wasn’t a whole lot this administration could do to plug this gusher. The federal government does just not have this type of technical expertise. That’s why we’ve got rely on the industry that’s involved in the drilling. And what’s so infuriating is it’s clear that their contingency emergency plans were inadequate. They had no plan to deal with this.”
Kind said it’s “an unprecedented environmental disaster” that will take months to play out. “It seems that the only viable course that can be taken now . . . is the relief wells that are being drilled. Unfortunately it takes three months to complete.” Kind says he suggested to BP executives that in any future deep-sea oil exploration they build structures allowing for the kind of wells they’re now trying to build to control their gulf gusher. Kind said the oil officials said they would take his suggestion under advisement.
Kind also said it’s going to take a little more convincing with his Republican colleagues, who he said are “criticizing the president for taking a momentary pause with further deepwater drilling until we get the answers as to what went wrong, why, and what safety procedures we need to implement to avoid the next big oil spill.”
Meanwhile, Kind’s colleague from across the St. Croix River had a different take on the BP situation. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann told the Washington Post she thinks BP is going to get “fleeced” by demands for “perpetual unemployment” by gulf coast residents and says the oil escrow fund is part of an Obama Administration plot to nationalize the oil industry. Bachmann told the Post “Do we really want to be paying 9-dollars for a gallon of gas? Because that could be the final result of this.”
Jeff Petersen, WIXK