President Obama should remove the executive while retaining line management of BP since BP leadership can be expected to constantly misinform and confuse the picture for the sake of protecting the financial interests of the corporation.
There is nothing more clear - what more needs to be said. So, if he exercised the "government of the people" as he has promised, then there is no question what is the right course of action. Otherwise it is clear that big corporations actually have the power to fail to protect public health and safety and spoil the environment and get away with harming the public interest with impunity. Are "The People" sovereign or is the corporation?
The idea that the government cannot take over the responsible management of the crisis is usually based on the assumption that all the 20,000 people connected with the corporation's work would be lost. That is not the case. All the engineers, operators and managers and BP employees would stay on the job and their activity would be even more facilitated since the secrecy of the corporate wall will be broken and an all-out and "open" program would be instituted with a global collaboration enabled.
The President needs to take over the BP operations connected with the disaster by installing a small team of the most capable crisis managers and technology innovators to conceive and implement effective solutions. The current team, who are responsible for the problem can not be expected to think clearly about solutions. Quick action on taking over this responsibility is most important. I would take every engineering proposal to an open internet based system of consultation, with capacity to enable anyone who has a potential contribution, to make that input quickly and effectively. This is not to be a media circus - this is a serious and professional method to assure that we will not be deprived of "fielding in" any potential solutions that otherwise could be neglected or lost.
Next, the government's program must include not only the engineering component - it must have strong Ocean Ecology and Life Science teams that will decide on the most important aspect: the mitigation of the toxic impacts of the ongoing crisis. We have seen the President's Energy Advisor (Steven Chu) on-site but we have not seen the presence of Dr. John Holdren, the President's Science Advisor, who is an Ocean Ecologist.
The use of the dispersants is an ill considered strategy and is not lessening the environmental impact but has only the goal of making the BP uncontrolled ocean floor gusher invisible - to "keep the oil off the beaches". The concern is that this makes the crude miscible in the ocean depths. There it will NOT be consumed by microbes as is being stated by BP people and the media. This toxic soup of crude (with gases and VO Cs?) and dispersants will spread wider and with deadly effect to kill much more of the ecosystem of the Gulf. There continues to be misrepresentations that microbes can survive exposure to the toxic soup, whereas they are killed by even very diluted quantities of these materials. This is pseudoscience that plays well in the media and leaves people feeling that dilution and the use of toxic dispersants or any dispersants is the right thing to do.
The floating field of crude oil, broken into miscible droplets by dispersant chemicals is moving in plumes deep under the ocean surface, and drawn by currents, tides and storms, it will infiltrate more of the ocean environment. This is a practice of "dilution" of pollutants, which makes the impact seem to be less - simply because it is more difficult to detect - but which is also discredited. This is because, the consequences can be much more severe and more pervasive. BP perhaps wishes that a "black tide" can be prevented and therefore the pollution (for which they are responsible) will be less visible when dispersed so widely by the Hurricane season, that it would be impossible to assess specific damages. However, in this they may be very mistaken. It is quite possible that the vast quantity of crude that is gushing and being mixed with toxic dispersants will kill the entire ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico and cause a vast public health crisis as a result of the penetration of the toxic soup and VO Cs? inland during the hurricane season. Water tables and the food chain could become contaminated. The fisheries collapse and inland agricultural failures could be the outcome of the "quick fix" of using toxic chemical dispersants.
Lastly, we do not deserve to be misled as to the severity of the crisis. There is no reason for optimism that the gusher can be fixed quickly. The public is being led along by a PR effort on the part of BP to offer reassurances that are simply dishonest. Clearly the well pressure was beyond the engineering design. This is a case of negligence and disregard for the "precautionary principle" - meaning you anticipate the "impossible" and workout the responses to such extreme risks before, not after, you take actions that are irreversible. When you see that crude and gases gushing explosively from the broken well just think about the pressures behind this from deep in the earth's crust. Remember that that gusher is coming out against the 1 mile deep water pressure! There is unlikely to be any quick fix since the gases are expanding violently, like an ongoing explosion. Even so, the global brainstorming and responsible government led search for solutions must be implemented in hope of an effective short term solution.
Now, should all know what the President and BP executives know, that the gusher will continue uncontrolled for months and the impact could become global and threaten the ecology of the Atlantic ocean and global food security. If this were the case and we had full disclosure, then the government would be asked by ALL (the whole world would demand) to step in with a rapidly and effectively implemented program that will contain as far as possible the problem. But it is likely that cover up will continue with more false promises and by the end of this summer it will become apparent that we are living on false hopes. - Sola Roof Guy