President Obama is sending top officials from the EPA, and Departments of Homeland Security and may send military ships and personnel to help control damage from the spill. The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is not only an environment danger, but also a widening political headache for President Obama, who just last month agreed to open vast stretches of the U.S. coastline to oil drilling. In that March 31 speech, Obama promised to “employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration.” He acknowledged that his decision would provoke criticism from both those who decried the expansion and those who said it did not go far enough.
Now, the accident in the Gulf may provide more firepower to the critics on the left, who have for years lobbied presidents and Congress to keep in place federal moratoriums on further offshore exploration. Those moratoriums have now expired and some lawmakers have already called for congressional inquiry into the regulation of offshore drilling.