Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 28th, 2010 4:49 am by HL
Sean Hannity again falsely suggested that President Obama ignored the floods in Tennessee and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In fact, Obama responded quickly to both disasters.
From the May 27 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
HANNITY: But this president never mentioned the largest flood in Nashville in 500 years. To this day he’s not mentioned this. He didn’t speak publicly about [the oil spill] for eight long days. Now, there is a political aspect to this, especially in light of the massive criticism that George W. Bush received in light of a two-day-slow response to Katrina.
Fact: Tennessee’s governor praised the administration’s flood response
Declaration provides federal aid. In a May 4 release, the White House stated that Obama “declared a major disaster exists in the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area” affected by “severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes beginning on April 30, 2010, and continuing.” The statement said that aid includes “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.” [Whitehouse.gov, 5/4/10]
Fox News.com: Tennessee governor said he has “never seen this kind of response.” Hannity’s own network reported that Gov. Phil Bredesen stated: “I’ve never seen this kind of response … and we’ve had our share of tornadoes and so forth.” Bredesen reportedly further stated, “FEMA and the White House could not have been more helpful in this thing.” Fox also reported that Obama spoke with Bredesen on Monday, May 3, and that FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate had been to the state twice since the storms. [FoxNews.com, 5/6/10]
Bredesen: “The President was on the phone to me before the sun came up practically on Monday morning.” In another White House statement, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs posted Bredesen’s description of the federal response:
I have to say that FEMA and the White House have been absolutely supportive. Very quickly FEMA was on the ground here before the raindrops started falling. … The President was on the phone to me before the sun came up practically on Monday morning. Slightly after it came up, other people from the White House had called and checked in with us and helped. … I’ve never seen this kind of a response to things that have happened. We’ve had our share of tornadoes and those kinds of things. … I’m very, very pleased with the response we’ve gotten from the administration. [5/6/10]
Fact: Administration responded immediately to rig explosion, oil spill
White House immediately dispatched officials, Coast Guard to work on response. As Media Matters detailed, the same day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 21, the White House held a briefing with top administration officials, and Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes was dispatched to the region. The same day, the Coast Guard announced that four units were responding to the fire, with additional units en route.
Coast Guard began containment efforts on April 23. On April 23, the Coast Guard stated:
The Department of the Interior, MMS [the U.S. Minerals Management Service], and the Coast Guard continue to support the efforts of the responsible parties to secure all potential sources of pollution. Both federal agencies have technical teams in place overseeing the proposals by BP and Transocean to completely secure the well. Until that has occurred and all parties are confident the risk of additional spill is removed, a high readiness posture to respond will remain in place.
Although the oil appears to have stopped flowing from the well head, Coast Guard, BP, Transocean, and MMS remain focused on mitigating the impact of the product currently in the water and preparing for a worst-case scenario in the event the seal does not hold. Visual feed from deployed remotely operated vehicles with sonar capability is continually monitored in an effort to look for any crude oil which still has the potential to emanate from the subsurface well.
“From what we have observed yesterday and through the night, we are not seeing any signs of release of crude in the subsurface area. However we remain in a ‘ready to respond’ mode and are working in a collaborative effort with BP, the responsible party, to prepare for a worst-case scenario,” Landry stated early Friday morning.
April 26: Oil recovery and cleanup were to resume after adverse weather passed. On April 25, the unified command team responding to the spill stated:
The unified command is implementing intervention efforts in an attempt to contain the source of oil emanating from the wellhead at the Deepwater Horizon incident site Sunday.
The unified command has approved a plan that utilizes submersible remote operated vehicles in an effort to activate the blowout preventer on the sea floor and to stop the flow of oil that has been estimated at leaking up to 1,000 barrels/42,000 gallons a day.
Also, BP is mobilizing the DD3, a drilling rig that is expected to arrive Monday to prepare for relief well-drilling operations.
Additionally, the oil recovery and clean-up operations are expected to resume once adverse weather has passed. These efforts are part of the federally approved oil spill contingency plan that is in place to respond to environmental incidents.
April 28: Federal officials realize spill was far more severe than BP led them to believe. An April 28 New York Times article reported, “Government officials said late Wednesday night that oil might be leaking from a well in the Gulf of Mexico at a rate five times that suggested by initial estimates.” The Times further reported:
In a hastily called news conference, Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard said a scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had concluded that oil is leaking at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day, not 1,000 as had been estimated. While emphasizing that the estimates are rough given that the leak is at 5,000 feet below the surface, Admiral Landry said the new estimate came from observations made in flights over the slick, studying the trajectory of the spill and other variables.
An April 30 Associated Press article reported, “For days, as an oil spill spread in the Gulf of Mexico, BP assured the government the plume was manageable, not catastrophic. Federal authorities were content to let the company handle the mess while keeping an eye on the operation.”
Hannity made these false claims before
Hannity previously suggested Obama did nothing on flooding, oil spill. On May 6, Hannity claimed that “[w]e have a massive flood in Nashville, the president, as of now, has yet to comment on it.” Hannity asserted on April 30 that the Obama administration “sat back for 9 days and they did absolutely nothing” about the oil spill”; on May 25, he said of the administration’s oil spill response, “they did nothing from day one … they haven’t done a thing.”