This morning news reports say the White House says, the oil could keep leaking, really gushing, into the Gulf for months. "After failure of 'top kill,' relief wells in August are seen as may be the best hope to stop the leaking oil. A top adviser said, 'We are prepared for the worst.'
Well, what next Mr. President Obama?
Well, here ae my modest opinions. First, the White House needs to explain to the public why it is so difficult to stop that leak, and the White House needs to put a solid tech team in charge of stopping the leak, whose priority is to shut off the oil and not to save the well. This tech team, not BP people, should call the shots. From day one, BP has not been playing straight with the public, as to the extent of the leak and as to the workability of its various schemes to contain the gushing oil.
Second, the White House should appoint one high profile, take-charge, person, with the political savvy and smarts to reassure America that the government will do what it can do today, right now. He should move to the region. He should lead the effort to concentrate on the clean up and the containment. He should be seen working, to keep as much oil as possible from shore.
Large areas of the Gulf are dead and more will be dying. If that oil leaks for months, the East coast fishing industry is in for a hard time. What sensible person would eat fish from oil polluted and toxic chemicals contaminated water?. The White House take charge guy should begin and plan with the locals for the restoration, which will be a longer term project. BP can not be trusted to do the job properly. BP is trying to do the job on the cheap, and to half do the job. Just to handle the surface, to play around with what people can see. The federal government should get the work done and send the bills to BP.
Third, the White House needs to be seen putting the yoke hold on the BP, to make sure that BP does cough up the money. The White House needs to be out front with tougher safety standards and inspectors. The White House needs to put muscle behind raising the financial liability limit for polluters. If the Republicans continue to resist increasing the oil companies financial liability limit for oil spills, blocking tougher regulations, preventing the government from holding the oil companies accountable for spills, the White House should raise the issue louder, force the Republicans to be accountable to the American people, and to the voters.
In short, the White House should do what it can do, and should be seen everyday doing it. The take charge guy should be a Southern politician with a national reputation. Some one with the gravitas of Bill Clinton. But not Bill Clinton, because in the next few months this must be this person's focus. Former Senator Bill Graham, if he has the energy would, fit the bill. Jimmy Carter could do it. He could put his foot to the oil companies and be reassuring to the locals that the federal government is not shirking its responsibilities for the cleanup, the containment; and for the restoration.