While some are relieved that President Obama is finally responding to the public's outrage over the Gulf oil spill, many in the blogosphere are not impressed by his "uninspiring anger," especially considering the many disturbing facts that have emerged in the past few days about BP and the federal response to the catastrophe:

  • BP was responsible for the botched cleanup of the Exxon Valdez spill which (20 years later) has still not been remediated. Many species including herring have never returned to the area.
  • Just a few weeks before Obama announced his expanded offshore drilling program, a Congressional investigation was launched into faulty engineering on a BP oil platform in the Gulf (Atlantis).
  • BP has repeatedly lobbied and testified before Congress about the need to eliminate regulation on oil and gas extraction processes.
  • President Obama received the largest single contribution from BP of all presidential candidates ($77,000) in 2008.
  • Since the spill, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has OK'd as many as 26 drilling approvals for BP using the same "categorical exclusions" that eliminated the need for a detailed review of the Deepwater Horizon and the Atlantis.
  • BP, the EPA, and the Coast Guard continue to state that the leak is only 5,000 barrels per day. Oil insiders told me almost two weeks ago that the leak was at least 25,000 barrels per day. Though BP denies it, scientists now agree the leak is at least 50,000 barrels per day (VIDEO) making it equivalent to four Exxon Valdez spills and counting ...
  • BP broke profit records in the first quarter of 2010 — $6.1 billion — yet they successfully fought a bill that would raise their liability payments to $10 billion.
  • The members of the two congressional committees responsible for reviewing the BP mess have collectively received $12.6 million in campaign contributions from petroleum interests. Here's the graphic from Public Campaign Action Fund:

But of all these disturbing factoids, perhaps none is more troubling than the simple fact the Obama administration, which ran and was elected on the notion of transparency, seems to be aiding and abetting a crime of disinformation and corporate obfuscation. I am in direct contact with several groups — journalists, scientists, nonprofit organizations — and all have reported the same thing ... it is next to impossible to gain the access desperately needed for independent monitoring and verification of damages in the region.

And as BP plans to drop more chemical dispersants and ignite more controlled burns of the surface oil, journalists need to be able to take photographs. Scientists need to be monitoring the effects on air and water quality. NGO's need to be attending to wildlife and testing the toxicity of fisheries. But the areas hardest hit, like the islands off the Louisiana coastline, are cordoned off by Coast Guard barricades. Science ships and volunteer cleanup crews are being turned away. 

Click here to read a report by the watchdog group Blue Seals.

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