Reckless. Disappointing. Unacceptable.
Those were the reactions from Maine's federal delegates on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in comments made after President Barack Obama's national address on the topic Tuesday.
All condemned BP's unpreparedness for dealing with the spill and called on the oil company to take full responsibility for damages.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat representing Maine's 1st District, said she agreed with the president when he said the disaster highlights the need for the United States to create new sources of clean energy.
“We can end our dependence on oil with home-grown solutions to our energy problems, like wind power and energy-efficiency technology, creating good-paying jobs in the process,” Pingree said in a statement.
Other Maine delegates were critical of the Obama administration's handling of the mess.
“My first reaction is disappointment that it has taken so long for the president to meet face to face with BP officials,” U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat representing Maine's 2nd District, said in a statement released Wednesday. “But I do appreciate some of the actions that the president has taken and plans to take. The National Guard can certainly help make a difference and add to current efforts. And I appreciate that he pressed BP to set aside funds. The new escrow account is good news and will help ensure that taxpayers are not on the hook for the economic and environmental mess that BP created.”
Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, who wrote a letter to the White House about two weeks ago asking for stepped-up involvement by the U.S. Coast Guard in the cleanup process, said she continued to be disappointed by the lack of leadership from Obama.
“I am frankly outraged that BP has been allowed to dictate the pace and tenor of the response for 57 days,” she said in a statement. “In all matters to date, BP’s response has only demonstrated its complete and reckless lack of preparedness, and the federal approval of cleanup proposals and technologies has been frustrating and inefficient.”
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, said the revelation that neither BP, the deep-water oil-drilling industry at large, nor the federal government had a concrete plan for dealing with such a catastrophe was unacceptable.
“Both industry and government absolutely must be better-prepared,” Collins said in a statement. “In light of this disaster, it is obvious that we need special requirements for drilling operations in these challenging conditions. Until the cause of this disaster is understood, I support the administration's moratorium on new drilling permits in deep water.”
Collins said she also agreed with Obama that America's energy resources need to be diversified and pointed to her bipartisan energy legislation as part of the solution.
“(The) bill sets a straightforward, direct course toward energy independence and a new economy based upon technological innovation and clean-energy jobs,” she said. “Instead of 'cap-and-trade,' our approach is 'cap-and-dividend,' with the money going into the pockets of hardworking American people.”
The measure would auction off carbon dioxide credits, with 75 percent of the revenue going to citizens in a rebate check and the remaining 25 percent used to fund clean-energy research and development.
Collins is one of several senators who have been invited to the White House next Wednesday to discuss climate-change policy with the president.