Appearances don’t satisfy like actions

Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney who is administering $20 billion for BP to pay on applications from the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill was anticipated to be in the area Tuesday, but those planning to attend his presentation at the East Houma Gym did not seem overly impressed.

The Obama Administration’s National Commission Report on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling was expected to be released in full this week. The commission sent out an advance section on Thursday, but it seemed that those both inside and outside the oil and gas industry failed to be satisfied as the sneak preview into Chapter 4 only told them what they already knew n the blast that claimed 11 lives, severely damaged the coastline and virtually shut down both the oil production and fishing industries was the result of “avoidable human errors.”

On Friday, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle and oil industry stakeholders were making plans to meet with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich. Some insiders expressed frustration because they expected to be disappointed as governmental bureaucracy in the clarification and setting of new rules has yet to get oil producers back to work.

It has been almost nine months since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, eight months since the Obama Administration first instituted a deepwater drilling moratorium and slowed the issuing of permits for shallow water drilling, three months since the drilling ban was lifted just in time for mid-term elections, one month since the government announced it would stop select offshore lease sales possibly throughout the bulk of 2011, and it has been one week since evidence of new oil deposits began appearing on Louisiana beaches and in marsh areas.

Obama, Feinberg, Bromwich and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar all know how to make timely appearances. But each of their local visits to date has left those in attendance often wondering what it was that they actually said and what specifically would be done to improve the situation. Their summaries have generally been a declaration that more study is needed.

It’s time federal figureheads realize that until realistic action and results are seen, as far as many Gulf coast residents are concerned, continued studies and timely staged appearances fail to make the grade.