Obama administration dithering and bureaucracy concerning the response to the BP oil leak disaster has caused some state and local governments along the Gulf Coast to move on their own, defying federal authority.
First, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, his patience at an end at Obama administration foot-dragging on permits to build sand berms to guard the Louisiana coast against encroaching oil, has decided to move on his own. Governor Jindal has ordered the Louisiana National Guard to start building the sand berms between the barrier islands about nine miles off the coast to block the encroachment of oil.
The Obama administration has been delaying issuing permits for the building of these sand berms pending an environmental impact study. Of course, the environmental impact of delaying so long that the coast of Louisiana is soiled by oil and tar balls does not quite enter into the deliberations of the federal government.
Meanwhile, Okaloosa County, Florida, has also decided to move despite the authority of the Federal government and do what is necessary to prevent oil from coming into Choctawhatchee Bay through the East Pass. The County Commissioners will now use barrier barges and perhaps a slip curtain, an underwater device designed to catch oil before it enters the bay. The Commissioners will do this, even though they may be prosecuted for it.
This kind of defiance against federal authority is hardly on the level of firing on Fort Sumter. But, it is without recent precedence and has profound implications for the political standing of President Barack Obama.
President Obama has one of two choices. Either he can let these little rebellions slide, and see his authority subsequently diminish, or he can move to stop it, and be seen as not only ineffective in cleaning up the oil in the Gulf, but actually working to stop others from doing so. It would be sort of like the old country and western song about the man who refuses to sleep with his wife, but will shoot anyone else who tries.
President Obama has been huffing and puffing about “ass-kicking,” and is said to be about to renew calls for a cap and trade bill, including a hefty carbon tax. But he has not been seen, coming on the two months later, as being capable of actually doing anything to alleviate the BP oil leak disaster.
In that sense, the BP oil leak disaster is not just Obama’s Katrina, it is his Iranian hostage crisis. It has shown him to be impotent and unready for leadership. State and local governments are now moving in to fill the vacuum.
Gov. Bobby Jindal Orders National Guard to Build Barrier Wall Off Louisiana Shore, David Muir, ABC News, June 14th, 2010
Okaloosa defies Unified Command over East Pass plans, Tom McLaughlin, Destin Log, June 15th, 2010