Responding with ‘every possible resource’

RESPONDING WITH ‘EVERY POSSIBLE RESOURCE’…. Conditions in the Gulf continue to appear severely bleak, and are actually getting worse. “The scenario is a very grave scenario. You’re looking at potentially 90 days before you ultimately get to what is the ultimate solution,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said this morning. But by then “a lot of oil could spread.”

If media coverage is any indication, one of the key areas of interest is whether the Obama administration is doing all it can. Officials are anxious to answer that question.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the administration had treated the explosion at the BP rig April 20 as a potential disaster from the beginning.

“The physical response on the ground has been from day one as if this could be a catastrophic failure,” she said. “Every possible resource was being lined up on shore.”

To bolster this point in detail, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs published a lengthy item to the White House blog, detailing the federal response, which began immediately after the BP Oil Spill began on April 20.

Concurrently, command center operations were stood up immediately in the Gulf Coast to begin also addressing the environmental impact of the incident.

The morning after the explosion, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar deployed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes down to the gulf to assist with coordination and response to the incident.

The Administration immediately began holding regular calls with BP leadership and numerous senior-level meetings have been held between the administration and BP to discuss BP’s response effort and federal oversight and support.

The National Response Team (NRT), an organization of 16 federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution incidents was quickly activated and a coordinated group of federal partners — including the United States Coast Guard, Departments of Homeland Security, Commerce, Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency — immediately began directing and overseeing BP’s response.

The word “immediately” is used quite a bit to accurately describe the speed with which officials reacted to developments, including the responses from the Defense Department, DHS, Interior, EPA, and NOAA. It appears to be as aggressive a governmental response as can be imagined under the circumstances.

And yet, while no one seems able to point to anything specific that the administration should do, or should have done, that hasn’t happened, coverage continues to suggest that the federal response is somehow incomplete. Just because.

President Obama will be in the area today, and has already halted new offshore oil drilling leases. Talk-show host Bill Maher insisted the other day that the president should be “getting more s**t” over the BP disaster, but he, like conservatives who’ve been saying the same thing, was a little vague on why.