As the oil gusher spirals out of control, Team Obama officials admit they didn’t even know that the Defense Department had equipment that could help contain the oil slick.
The New York Times reported:
As oil edged toward the Louisiana coast and fears continued to grow that the leak from a seabed oil well could spiral out of control, officials in the Obama administration publicly chastised BP America for its handling of the spreading oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, where Obama is expected to travel this weekend.
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Yet a review of the response suggests it may be too simplistic to place all the blame for the unfolding environmental catastrophe on the oil company. The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP.
The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was “a spill of national significance,” and then set up a second command center in Mobile, Ala. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day.
The delay meant that the Homeland Security Department waited until late this week to formally request a more robust response from the Department of Defense, with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledging even as late as Thursday afternoon that she did not know if the Defense Department even had equipment that might be helpful.
By Friday afternoon, she said, the Defense Department had agreed to send two large military transport planes to spray chemicals that can disperse the oil while it is still in the Gulf.