President Obama told reporters this morning that the federal government is in charge of the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher. BP is responsible and they will pay the bills, but the government is giving the orders…
The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort. As far as I’m concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy. We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they’ve done and the painful losses that they’ve caused. And we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak.
But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance. I’ve designated Admiral Thad Allen -– who has nearly four decades of experience responding to such disasters -– as the National Incident Commander, and if he orders BP to do something to respond to this disaster, they are legally bound to do it.
I am still trying to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. BP surely could not possibly screw things up more than they already have. Could they? Is the government taking charge just a means of letting them off the hook or is it meant to somehow quiet the right wing noise machine? (Good luck on the latter.)
A full transcript, including the question and answer period that followed the President’s remarks, is available at this link.