Frustration Over BP’s Oil Spill Response Mounts

The Obama Administration is showing frustration at BP’s apparent inability to quickly stop and clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to a report in the New York Daily News, if BP is unable to stop the oil gushing from the underwater well later this week with a procedure called a “top kill”, the feds could take over the operation.

It’s been 35 days since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers. So far, none of BP efforts to stop the leaking well have worked. The Obama Administration is also coming under fire for its response to the disaster.

On Sunday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressed the administration’s frustration with BP. “If we find that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately,” he warned. “BP has from day one frankly not fulfilled the mission that they were supposed to fulfill.”

Today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was “heartsick” over the spill. She, Salazar, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and a congressional delegation toured the area to assess the damage from the spill. The disaster has already oiled 65 miles of Louisiana’s shoreline.

“This oil threatens not only our coast and our wetlands, this oil fundamentally threatens our way of life in southeastern Louisiana,” Jindal said.

According the Los Angeles Times, Napolitano said the federal government is assembling a group of scientists to estimate the amount of oil that is coming out of the well. BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig from TransOcean Ltd and is responsible for the spill, had said that about 5,000 barrels per day was coming from the well. But that estimate has come under fire in recent days, with some scientists fearing the true amount could be as much as ten times BP’s estimates.

Napolitano insisted that the federal government is keeping the pressure on BP to make sure it is responding appropriately. “This is the largest incident response to an oil spill ever in the history of the United States,” Napolitano said. “We continue to hold BP responsible as the responsible party. But we are on them, watching them. We know the value of these lands, of these parishes.”

Salazar echoed her words. “The fact of the matter is that this is a BP mess. It is a horrible mess,” he said. “We will not rest until their job is done.”

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