Talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh today blasted President Obama and his appointees for the extended time period before there was a significant response to the oil well explosion off the coast of Louisiana, an event that has been described by some as potentially the biggest environmental threat to the U.S.
He also took swipes at the mainstream media for their kid-gloves treatment of the president regarding his responsibility to lead the nation.
"He said on Thursday, February 11th of this year, 'Until jobs are being created to replace those that we've lost, until America is back to work, my administration will not rest and this recovery will not be finished.' Well, he's resting," said Limbaugh.
"He's playing golf. He waited 12 days to head down to Louisiana. I don't know how many rounds of golf, how many pickup basketball games he's played since then," he said.
"Do we have an EPA? We do. It's the Environmental Protection Agency. I've looked into what the director, the administrator has been doing during these 12 days, and the answer is 'not much,' I mean to do with the slick. I'll just ask you point-blank: What has the EPA been doing after a BP rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico? What have they been doing? What has the EPA done? What have they done?"
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The drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded killing 11 workers April 20. Experts say it will be months before a cause of the problem is determined and it's ultimate environment impact remains to be seen.
He cited the activities of Lisa P. Jackson, the administrator of the EPA.
Read a story of romance: how the U.S. media has fallen for a president, in "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media."
"On April 22nd, not one word from the EPA administrator about the Gulf oil rig explosion. She's out bragging about Earth Day, EPA, super funds, climate change, the coal mine disaster. Nothing about the Gulf," Limbaugh said.
The following day, the same result, he said.
"Three days, not one mention. April 25th, four days after the rig blew: 'Five to six p.m., remarks at an Earth Day concert. National Mall Earth Day, network stage, 8th Street Northwest between Independence and Constitution Avenue.' April 26th, five days after the rig: Lisa Jackson's schedule, nine to 9:45 a.m., 'EPA NASA MOU signing, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, Washington, DC. Five to seven p.m., Daily Show taping, Daily Show studios, New York, New York,'" Limbaugh said.
"There is a YouTube video available of her performance on The Daily Show. Not one word was mentioned about the environmental disaster that was going on in the Gulf, but she had a great time yukking it up about Earth Day and other things… That's April 26th, five days after the rig," he said.
"Today is the 3rd. May 1st or 2nd she flies over the oil sick, lands, and 'spent much of her time dealing with residents' memories about Hurricane Katrina and the slow federal response to that disaster," he said,.
He pinpointed what he believes is the reason for the actions – or inaction – by Obama and his appointees.
"Earth Day mattered more because it's not about managing America's problems, not about being president, not about being executive; it's about implementing an agenda, it's about transforming the American way of life, the American culture, the American economy and anything that happens that helps us do that along the way, well, we're going to take advantage of it," he said.
"The president's spokesman said, yep, we got our boots on BP's throat on this one. And the president says it's BP's fault, they're going to pay for it, BP's fault. Nevertheless, I have to do something about it, while he does nothing about it," he continued.
"Even the New York Times, even though they did it on a Saturday: 'Unanswered Questions On The Spilll – a White House as politically attuned as this one should have been conscious of two obvious historical lessons. One was the Exxon Valdex, where a late and lame response by both industry and the federal government all but destroyed one of the country's richest fishing grounds and ended up costing billions of dollars. The other was President George W. Bush's hapless response to Hurricane Katrina. Now we have another disaster in more or less the same neck of the woods, and it takes the administration more than a week to really get moving,'" he said.
Limbaugh poked fun at the media, too.
"They're having trouble there at the Drive-By Media, State-Controlled Media, 'How do we treat this very uncomfortable position that we find ourselves in here.' They are very uncomfortable. They're twitchy, talking about the media here, but they are trying to smile while being totally uncomfortable because the poor babies are conflicted.
"See, it would have been easy if a Republican were president. … It was so easy for eight years just to blame everything on Bush…
"The Obama media, "Yeah, we love the world, we love the earth, we love Earth Day, we love Dumbo, too,' meaning Obama. 'But, gosh, you see the New York Times editorial, why did he wait 12 days? I mean rivulets of oil head toward the sacred fragile wetlands of Louisiana, the sugar white beaches of Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, why did he wait, oh, please there must be an answer because he's so much smarter than we are there must be an answer we don't see. Why did he wait?' If it were Bush – ha-ha-ha-ha-ha – they wouldn't be waiting. They would already be firing up impeachment hearing demands. They're asking themselves at all their editors meetings, 'Should we comment on this? Kind of uncomfortable, I mean the guy didn't do anything for 12 days, there's gotta be a reason, oh, he's so much smarter than we are, I mean he went to Harvard, Columbia, and so did we, but he's gotta know more than we do, there's gotta be a reason.' Even the New York Times story does not mention Obama's name. They have kept his name out of it. They just talk about the slow government response."
According to a report in the Birmingham News, the government actually had a plan to deal with such a situation, but was unprepared to implement it.
The report said an "In-Situ Burn" plan was produced by federal agencies in 1994 and calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms.
But in this case, the government had no such booms, and had to purchase one from a company in Illinois to begin, the report said.
A spokesman for a company that produces them, Jeff Bohleber of Elastec, told the newspaper a single fire boom can burn up to 1,800 barrels of oil an hour, or 75,000 gallons an hour, and the report raised the possibility that the spill might have been contained at the site of the accident – some 100 miles from shore – had the government been prepared to follow its own plan.
"This is absolutely the asset of first use," he told the newspaper. "Get in there and start burning oil before the spill gets out of hand. If they had six or seven of these systems in place when this happened and got out there and started burning, it would have signficiantly lessened the amount of oil that got loose."
In a government statement today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said they met with BP CEO Tony Hayward and BP American Chairman and President Lamar McKay to discuss ongoing, coordinated response efforts and receive an update on BP's spill mitigation plans for potentially affected Gulf Coast states.
"As President Obama has made clear, BP will be held accountable for the costs associated with this tragic event," the statement said.