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The Line Between General And State Government

June 24, 2010 by  

The recent dustups between Gulf States and the Federal government over BP Deepwater Horizon oil gusher cleanup efforts demonstrate the folly of a gargantuan, obtrusive and obtuse Federal government trying to micromanage an operation that should be coordinated locally.

First there was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and his idea to build what would essentially have been barrier islands to intercept the oil before it reached the state’s delicate marshlands. Then there were efforts by Alabama Governor Bob Riley to string a massive system of booms to keep oil off the Alabama coastline and out of Mobile Bay.

These efforts were delayed by days and weeks while the Federal bureaucracy stumbled and bumbled over whether the ideas were good ones, or whether others might be better. Meanwhile, oil began washing up on shore.

Then there was halting of the cleanup efforts of some of the local governments by the Federal environmental police due to a perceived risk to some wildlife.

Finally, the coup de grâce, the Coast Guard’s forced docking of oil sucking barges off the Louisiana coast to check whether there were enough life preservers on board.

The Federal government proved during the hurricane Katrina aftermath, the Deepwater Horizon aftermath and in countless other ways that when it tries to get involved on a local level it only succeeds in getting in its own way—and in the way of those actually doing something.

As Riley complained of the so-called unified command in charge of the oil spill cleanup effort, each member of the command had veto power over any idea. One would raise a good fix and another would veto it because it might harm a turtle or cause a worker some discomfort (as in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ruling that beach cleanup workers could only labor 20 minutes of each hour because of the heat).

In response to the Federal government’s inaction, Jindal decided to build the islands himself. Riley ordered municipalities along Alabama’s beaches to do what they needed to do to clean the beaches and promised them compensation. Municipalities in Florida are doing the same thing. And all are avoiding involving the Feds whenever possible.

During the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention James Wilson, speaking on the line dividing powers between general (Federal) government and particular state governments, said:

“Are disputes between the general government and the state governments to be necessarily the consequence of inaccuracy? I hope, sir, they will not be the enemies of each other, or resemble comets in conflicting orbits, mutually operating destruction; but that their motion will be better represented by that of the planetary system, where each part moves harmoniously within its proper sphere, and no injury arises by interference or opposition.”

So far those disputes resemble comets in conflicting orbits rather than harmonious planets. Let’s hope the Feds will get out of the governors’ way and just make sure the funds needed for the local efforts are there.

The Coast Guard is rightfully overseeing cleanup efforts in the Gulf. But its time could be better spent monitoring oil skimming operations than worrying over whether a barge operator who has spent a lifetime at sea is wearing his lifejacket.

And as for the oil spewing forth from 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface 40 miles out, that’s where the Feds should be concentrating their efforts. They should be providing BP with all the assistance it needs to contain the gusher. And that means bringing in top oil drilling experts from around the world and any other materiel or resources other countries may provide.

It also should mean for the Federal government to get its boot off BP’s neck. It’ll be a lot easier to work that way. There will be plenty of opportunity for the government to get its pound (or ton) of flesh once the gusher is capped and oil is no longer lapping along the beautiful Gulf Coast.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • home boy

    i quess people really don’t get obama. he said there would be change and that’s what he has done. you don’t like it ,he says tobad i’m boss man now. he want’s this country to go down. you just didn’t listen when rev wright was trying to tell you before the election what obama was all about. he is using the gulf to get cap& trade past. and anything else he can get at the expense of the gulf region. he bows to your enemy’s and loves the socialist and communist. but you wanted a change. yes the repubs are no better. so whats left. nothing. man has had 6000 years since adam and eve to get it right and they can’t. why? greed. where does it come from? Satan but you don’t want to recognize his existence. maybe you should go back to your bible and read it again or for the first time. man does not have the answer. only God has it.

  • Brett

    home boy, I agree with your comments, but please work on your writing style! If BP gave as much attention to their drilling operation as you’ve given to your grammar, spelling, and punctuation, it is no wonder that they’ve experienced such a calamity. Sloppiness has become epidemic in every area of our society.

    • Sunny

      Come on, Brett. Aren’t you being a little harsh? Many people write less than perfectly in email responses which does not necessarily mean they are uneducated or sloppy. Lighten up.

  • hoss

    Hear! Hear! Amen to that! We are headed for worse and haven’t seen anything yet! Christ who died and rose from the grave to life everlasting is our only hope! Christ alone saves! Seek him!
    Man can do nothing! and to put hope in man is a waste of time. Only God can change man! Un-regenerated man is blind to the truth. So folks, if you are enamored with the worlds delight or blinded by the likes of Mohammed (who btw never arose from the grave) and other man made twisted religions.? enjoy what time you have left!!

  • Ted Crawford

    One of my main problems with organized religion is the attitude of total helplessness it seems to engender in its’ followers! The book I read was not commissioned by, or for any weak people! It was for strong brave people, willing to resist all evil at all costs!
    What is happening, in and to our nation today calls for those same people to rise up and resist, with all the peaceful means at their disposal, the outrages that are being visited on us!
    Perhaps, if we stand up and take responsibility for ourselves, some help may yet come from on high!!!

    • s c

      Ted, organized religion is crippled by the same problems as government, economics, science, education and health. There are no true leaders in government, economics, science, education or health – or organized religion.
      Organized religion was co-opted and made apostate by the same mentality/force that has corrupted every nation. It hides behind a presumed integrity that was bought and paid for long before America became a free country.
      Put your faith in God, people you trust and yourself. Very few people will live long enough to see any religious faith that has God ‘on its side.’
      That may sound pessimistic, but there is very little place for optimism in America’s churches. Those ‘leaders’ work for the same “boss” as the current prez.

  • independant thinker

    My take on the situation……………Obama is trying to break the back of BP and then all other oil companies drilling in the Gulf. This will give him almost total control over that portion of our energy then he will start on coal and after that natural gas.

  • s c

    The main obstacle in resolving the oil spill debacle is Washington and its incompetents and ravening predators. Governor Jindall made a major mistake in giving ANYONE in Washington the benefit of any doubt.
    After Katrina’s circus of errors, it should have been evident that Uncle Scam is NOT in the ‘rescue’ business. Herr Obummer and his merry band of fifth columnists are concerned with a variation of wealth redistribution, and they can’t be ‘bothered’ with solving the problem.
    All wannabe, elite pseudointellectuals are out of their element when they leave their ivory tower sanctuaries. Only rockheads could believe that Herr Obummer and his con artists would be capable of doing that which is impossible for theoreticians – living in the real world, and recognizing the differences between a pipe dream and reality.
    Watch who defends Herr Obummer when 3 months have gone by, and we’re still waiting for an END to this problem, America.

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