The Obama-BP Cozy Ties Run Deep

Posted: Jul 14, 2010 9:31 AM
Guest blog post by James L. Martin

As the nation ponders ways to clean up the BP oil spill disaster, I wonder if President Obama himself plans to take ownership of this catastrophe since he's conveniently forgotten that as president this was his responsibility to take care of all aspects of the spill. I firmly believe that the President has blatantly shown poor leadership and exercised more scanty judgment by not addressing the issue until six weeks after it happened. Moreover, in addition to failing on giving a timely response, his administration is also misdirecting the solution to the spill by trying to punish the entire industry for BP's problems.

President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder is now gearing up to file criminal charges as a result of the explosion. It'll be interesting to see if Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be held responsible. I'm not holding my breath. The Obama Administration's ties to BP run too deep to truly deliver any accountability in this crisis. Longtime BP executive Sylvia Baca was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management in Ken Salazar's Interior Department.

It's little-known, but President Obama was the leading recipient of political contributions from BP employees in the 2007-2008 election. All of this makes one wonder if his cozy relationship with BP influenced his delayed response to the oil spill.

Rather than dragging out the ongoing game of finger-pointing through the courts, it's in the best interest of the nation for the President and members of Congress to advocate for a balanced energy policy that encourages and incentivizes the good actors and only seeks to punish the outliers who fail to enforce the highest standards. Now is the time for the Administration to put aside partisan politics and focus on restoring the spirit, production and livelihood of those affected in the Gulf.

Courageous leadership would put aside the political gamesmanship and not seek to punish the entire energy industry for the mistakes of one rouge company that has demonstrated a long history of negligent behavior in order to save time and money. BP's actions are outside of the mainstream of the industry and they have a strong history of laxity, sorry to say, that should not define the totality of the industry. BP, solely, needs to be reprimanded for their barefaced disregard of the communities in which they maintain their business.

Chastising the entire industry based on the erroneous safety record of BP, the Obama administration has put in place a moratorium on deepwater drilling. This moratorium is costing the area jobs, driving away employers, and placing the already devastated economy of the Gulf Coast under incredible strain. These kinds of liberal policies will further drive the region into economic disarray. We need to make sure that the moratorium is lifted so that we can start to salvage the current situation and revive the region by rebuilding the industry.

The bottom line is this; oil is still the lifeline of this country. As BP and the experts work to contain the spill and make the communities in the Gulf whole again, it's the job of the Administration and our Congressional leadership to make the right policy decisions. We owe it to all the people in the Gulf States who depend on this industry and to the security of our nation.

President Obama needs to step up and lead our country to be eventually self-sustained with our abundant natural resources right here at home instead of allowing the liberal environmental agenda to drive jobs overseas. The President and Congress need to be sure to learn from industry best practices and develop realistic standards for off-shore drilling. We cannot prevent acts of God, but we can prevent acts of irresponsibility.

Jim Martin is the Chairman of the 60 Plus Association, a non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to seniors issues.