No Promise from Obama to Put His Boot on the Throat of EPA

When BP spilled oil in the Gulf, Obama officials promised to keep his “boot on the throat” of the oil company. But the EPA is exempt.

In case you don’t remember, here is the NPR headline from May 2010: “BP Will Feel Either ‘Boot On Throat’ Or ‘Feet To Fire'”

The Obama Administration clearly wants to send the signal that it’s keeping the pressure on BP to do everything humanly possible to stop the uncontrolled flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and to get the company to pick up the cost for cleaning up the mess and the economic losses to people in the gulf region.

So the administration has embraced the violent imagery of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who said administration officials would keep their “boot on the throat” of the energy giant to make sure the company does all it can and more to address the problems caused by its uncontrolled ocean gusher.

Brutal language, especially since the government was partially responsible for the spill. But now we have another spill that is completely the responsibility of the government. As the Washington Times reports, “

Unlike BP, which was fined $5.5 billion for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the EPA will pay nothing in fines for unleashing the Animas River spill.

“Sovereign immunity. The government doesn’t fine itself,” said Thomas L. Sansonetti, former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s division of environment and natural resources.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and other lawmakers have called on the EPA to hold itself to the same standards as it would a private company in the aftermath of Wednesday’s accident, in which an EPA-led crew uncorked a 3 million-gallon spill of orange wastewater from the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.

However, “The EPA does not fine itself the way that you would fine an outside company like BP,” said Mr. Sansonetti, who served from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush.

What the EPA can be expected to cover is the cost of the cleanup and compensation for the damage caused, funding that would have to be appropriated by Congress, meaning that the taxpayers will foot the bill.

“That’s going to have to be appropriated because that sort of thing is not included in the EPA’s budget,” said Mr. Sansonetti, now a Denver attorney.

Just like in communist countries, the government itself is a major polluter but it faces no consequences. The media doesn’t express nearly the outrage that they commonly express when they think a private company has caused an environmental disaster. The way the news is reported and the way the government responds communicates that private companies are always suspicious and the government is always above suspicion.