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May 31, 2010

Another Obama folly moves forward on the heals of former MMS head Birnbaum's departure (firing)

Topics: Political News and commentaries

PN200826-02_072dpi.jpg"Firing" is really not the right word; the administration says she resigned; but the truth is that former MMS head Liz Birnbaum was in fact a "scapegoat" in order to advance the Obama administration's political agenda - renewable energy, and its own ineptitude in responding to the Gulf oil spill. Furthermore, the administration lied about her having resigned, and did so first to Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and then to the American people.

From Greenwire, comes this not unexpected report (Emphasis added):

The now-ex MMS director was in her office early yesterday, preparing to testify before an congressional panel about the agency's role in handling BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as she had several times in recent weeks.

Yesterday morning was different, according to congressional sources. Someone from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's office called and said the secretary did not want her to attend the House hearing. Following a harsh New York Times profile that highlighted her low profile in the crisis, that might have seemed like a bad omen.

But Birnbaum, the former veteran congressional staffer, was worried more about stiffing a committee chairman than what this meant for her job. She called Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, where she was supposed to testify, to tell him she would not be appearing.

Moran called Salazar, who then walked out of his sixth-floor hallway with Deputy Secretary David Hayes. They went one floor down and four hallways over to Birnbaum's office in 5400 corridor of Main Interior and asked her to resign.

Hayes, who has taken the lead for Salazar on the spill, testified in Birnbaum's place at the hearing.

At the start of the hearing, Moran gingerly brought up the question of why Birnbaum was absent. Salazar ducked the question at first. Moran would explain later that she had not actually resigned at that point. But a few minutes later, as news alerts flashed on Blackberrys around the Capitol that Birnbaum had been fired, Salazar announced to the committee that she had resigned, "on her own terms and of her own volition."

It was an uncharacteristic move that apparently caught even President Obama off guard. Recent practice in the Obama administration is to wait until a furor has died down before ousting the political appointee in charge of it. But Birnbaum's decision to reach outside the executive branch may have sped up the process in her case.

"She still doesn't get it," said an acquaintance later yesterday. "She still doesn't understand she's being made the poster child for all this. She thinks it's on the merits."

Birnbaum's was the most senior head to roll in a crisis that President Obama has deemed his top priority. But when Obama faced reporters asking about her ouster later in the day, he said he did not know the details.

"You're assuming it was a firing," Obama said. "If it was a resignation, then she would have submitted a letter to Mr. Salazar this morning, at a time when I had a whole bunch of other stuff going on."

Obama was blunt in saying, however, that Salazar's job is safe. The two have been friendly since they were freshman in the Senate in 2005.

That the Obama administration lied about Birnbaum's firing is seemingly bad enough, but as Chris Horner points out at American Spectator, as troubling as Birnbaum's circumstances of dismissal are, Obama's green agenda is even more so: (Emphasis added)
In "Power Grab: How Obama's Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America", I detail absurd stances articulated by senior administration officials which if followed -- as this and other activities indicate was the case -- would doom us to the unhappy and thoroughly avoidable fate of others who have blazed this reckless trail. In the United Kingdom, for example, that lot are now confronting its looming blackouts, to come possibly in time for the summer 2012 Olympics in London if their economy recovers in time ...

... The Brits pursued the, er, "plan" of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Obama's appointee to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Jon Wellinghoff, both of whom have declared the United States has no need of new nuclear or coal base-load electricity generation. They sneer at building coal and nuclear -- which work and provide baseload power -- on the promise of some massive, future littering of the Atlantic seaboard with massive windmills.

And in pursuit of this agenda, the administration just this month sent Navy officials out to say that drilling rigs off Virginia's coast would interfere with naval operations, posing a national security issue, and we'd better not do it. Yet this was timed, with breakthaking hypocrisy, with a push to say that we really ought to litter the the same space with wind farms which, as you might imagine, pose a slightly greater navigational challenge and for far less and absurdly uneconomical gain.

... The Virginia OCS and surrounding area, was the only region actually left open for consideration by Obama for the next five-year plan (beginnin in, despite the spin lapped up by the press, he opened not one area for drilling but effectively re-imposed moratoria). And that was before Obama's latest decision to shelve those few offshore drilling projects that had made it through the pipeline in recent years and appeared imminent. A further compounded element of this, kicking the Gulf's economy when it's down, included shuttering 33 existing rig operations; the scarce rigs which will now head off to China, Brazil, wherever their political class are less unserious about the critical issue of energy. Probably not to be seen in these parts for quite some time.

Read more ...

As Horner goes on to point out, to put the economic and security concerns represented in Obama's offshore drilling policy decision-making into a very tight and rudely blunt nutshell, being left to import oil from the Saudis and Venezuelans is apparently preferable to importing shrimp from the Vietnamese. That his MMS head was tasked with forcing symbolic windfarms instead of core operation -- Minerals Management -- is reminiscent of BP, and its old global warming Doppelganger Enron, and what happened when they, too, lost the plot and spent their time and resources on similar frivolites.

Posted by Abdul at May 31, 2010 10:45 AM

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