Friday, June 18, 2010
Factchecking the Pres
by Larry Geller
We get so many words from the White House, at least we can expect them to be accurate.
In Obama’s June 15 speech were soothing words. Unfortunately, they may not reflect reality.
In assuring Americans on Tuesday that BP won't control the compensation fund for Gulf oil spill recovery, President Barack Obama failed to mention that the government won't control it, either.
That means it's anyone's guess whether the government can, in fact, make BP pay all costs related to the spill. [AP, Make BP pay? May be out of Obama's control, 6/15/2010]
The same story noted the dismal outcome of compensation for the Exxon Valdez disaster:
It took 20 years to sort through liability after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and in the end, punitive damages were slashed by the courts to about $500 million from $2.5 billion. Many people who had lost their livelihoods in the spill died without seeing a check.
Obama was also off in his claim that he acted swiftly after the disaster. Quite the opposite:
In explaining the administration’s response to the oil spill, Obama said "just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s secretary of energy." It was not "just after the rig sank," but rather 20 days after the April 20 explosion when Obama announced he would dispatch a team, headed by Chu, to meet with BP officials in Houston. The president asked Chu to head the team at a Cabinet meeting on May 10. [Factcheck.org, Fact-Checking Obama’s Oil Speech, 6/16/2010]
The same report also mentions that the President was inaccurate in claiming he issued a six-month drilling moratorium: it applied only to new permits and amounts to only a delay in receiving those permits. All else, old and new drilling, continues unabated.