Is Salazar Lowballing Gulf Drilling Applications?

Ken Salazar photoTwo weeks ago, we asked whether Interior Secretary Ken Salazar considered himself above the law by ignoring court orders to resume the permitting process for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Now we learn that Salazar may have misled Congress and the public on the number of drilling permit applications he is ignoring.

Yesterday, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) accused Salazar, along with Michael Bromwich, the director of the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, of using bogus figures. During Congressional testimony on March 2, and on other occasions, Salazar and Bromwich used much lower figures than those cited in a filing last week in the Justice Department’s appeal of the court order to begin issuing permits.

In a letter to Salazar and Bromwich, Vitter wrote:

Over the last several weeks and months, you have indicated publicly, before Congress, and privately to members, including myself, that

BP Oil Spill Commission Chief Counsel Blames BP Instead of Entire Industry

Deepwater HorizonOn Thursday, Fred Bartlit, Chief Counsel of the BP Oil Spill Commission, issued a report in which he put blame squarely on BP for the disaster, including a failure to adequately supervise its Halliburton and Transocean subcontractors.

The seven-member Commission, appointed by President Obama before the well had even been capped, issued its “final” report on January 11. Although it cited many of the same BP-specific problems detailed by Bartlit, it implicated the entire oil and gas exploration and production industry, and called for “systemic reforms.”

The Commission’s membership included prominent environmentalists who opposed offshore drilling even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, such as Frances G. Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. By blaming the entire industry, it reinforced flawed policy responses, like the Gulf-wide moratorium on drilling.

As Co-Chair William K. Reilly claimed:

Our investigation shows that a series of specific and preventable human and engineering

CNBC: Punish BP Shareholders?

Today I discussed BP’s capping of the well and whether BP shareholders should be punished with Dan Weiss of the Center for American Progress, and CNBC hosts Larry Kudlow and Trish Regan. Here is a transcript:

Larry Kudlow:  All right, President Obama speaking out on BP’s latest attempt to stop its oil leak, adding that the problem would not be fully resolved until relief wells have been completed.  Now BP says it is encouraged by early tests that show it has stopped the flow.  Two hundred million gallons have spilled into the Gulf.  In our viewer outrage segment, Andy from Florida says, BP knew that they had problems and still drilled.  I want to see people go to jail.  People should be selling their stock, not buying.  So we ask, should BP shareholders be punished for BP’s actions?  Joining us now, is Peter Flaherty, President of National Legal and …

CNBC: Flaherty Says White House Allies Cashing in on BP

Today I discussed whether BP can ever get it right in the wake of Tony Hayward’s yacht outing with John Kilduff of Round Earth Capital and CNBC hosts Trish Regan, Melissa Francis and Larry Kudlow. Here’s a transcript:

Trish Reagan: We are asking the question here, in light of all of this, can BP ever get it right? We want to go to Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center also John Kilduff, Partner at Round Earth Capital and also a CNBC Contributor. Great to see you guys, John, I mean, come on, a yachting race? Is he just very, very British and I just don’t get it? Or was this a massive, massive PR blunder? Come on.

Melissa Francis: Sometimes you just have to go yachting.

John Kilduff: You could of maybe understood the World Cup. Ok, with soccer you know there is …

Yacht Race Is Final Straw for BP’s Tony Hayward

Tony Haywards YachtAccording to the Associated Press:

The BP CEO is attending a yacht race off the Isle of Wight in southern England today, a company spokeswoman said.

Sheila Williams says Hayward took time off his duties handling the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico to see his boat “Bob” participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday.

If this report is true, Hayward must go. Earlier in the week, I criticized the House hearings as political theater. I thought that Hayward was reluctant to answer many questions because of the criminal investigation announced by Attorney General Holder.  Even if set up for a public relations fall, Hayward was at least rational to try protect himself from criminal liability.

But going to the boat race is not rational. It’s beyond stupid. While commercial fisherman and shrimpers in the Gulf are idled as their livelihoods disappear, …

CNBC: Flaherty Criticizes House BP Hearings

Tonight on The Kudlow Report, I discussed the appearance of BP CEO Tony Hayward before the House Energy and Commerce Committee today with Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management and psychologist Dr. Tim Irwin. Here’s a transcript:

Larry Kudlow: All right unless you are from another planet, you would know that was BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. He was offering more questions than answers today. Based on his overall performance, I guess we must ask as many others will, is it time for Hayward to go? And if so, who should replace him and will that matter at this point? So nobody knows this issue better than my friend Jeff Sonnenfeld, the founder and President of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management. Peter Flaherty, the National Legal and Policy Center and organizational psychologist Tim Erwin, he is the author of Derailed, Five Lessons …

Obama Failing Leadership Test on BP Oil Disaster

Instead of trying to hijack BP’s capital or to use the disaster to advance Cap and Trade, Obama should be trying to stop the leak.

Since the April 20 disaster, I have made separate trips to West Texas and Tulsa. Oil men in both places were full of ideas about how to deal with this crisis. Obama should have put together a commission of technical experts so that the decisions of BP can be critically evaluated. Right now, Obama claims that the U.S. government is in charge of the operation, but it is really at the mercy of BP’s decision making at the well site.

Instead, Obama prematurely created a commission to review the disaster. On Monday, Obama appointed Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, to the Commission. Beinecke is an activist who opposed deep-water drilling BEFORE the disaster. This Commission has nothing to do …

CNBC: Flaherty Says BP Escrow Fund is Political Posturing

This afternoon, I debated Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense on Obama’s plan to establish a $20 billion escrow fund for BP oil disaster victims, along with CNBC hosts are Mandy Drury, Sue Herera and Tyler Mathison. Here’s a transcript:

Amanda (Mandy) Drury:  A new poll shows the majority of Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama has handled the Gulf oil spill, though far more blame BP for what people call a sluggish two month response.  The Administration now wants BP to place billions in escrow to pay for damage claims in the wake of the Gulf oil spill – good policy or politics as usual?  Well Steve Ellis, of Taxpayers for Common Sense says the plan is a smart move that will save years of legal battles.  But Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center thinks that the government has no legal right …

Flaherty: Pelosi Doesn’t Know What She is Talking About

Friday, June 11, 2010- Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center, is interviewed by Sally Kidd of Hearst TV on the BP oil spill. Hearst TV provides news reports to 30 broadcast TV stations. Here’s a transcript:

Stefan Holt:  Everybody welcome back to WPBF 25 news, I’m Stefan Holt.

Angela Rozier:  And I am Angela Rozier.  Continuing coverage of the oil spill now with a live look at the leaking well, tonight after new estimates from the government. Scientists are warning of greater harm to the Gulf regions wildlife.  They said, oil, twice as much as had been thought is likely to travel longer distances.

Stefan Holt:  Tonight the government admits that it is hard to nail down just exactly just how much oil has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.  Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says there is still hope that the …

CNBC: Flaherty Slams Obama, Pelosi on BP Response

On tonight’s Kudlow Report, I discussed the BP oil spill in the Gulf with CNBC host Larry Kudlow; Bruce Lanni of Nollenberger Capital Partners; and energy analyst John Kilduff.  Our exchange begins at about 5:25 of the segment. Here is a transcript:

Larry Kudlow:  Is BP really a British company or is it just a big multi-national company?  I think a lot of their stuff, so much of their stuff is right here in America, in North America.  But let’s bring in our panel.  We have got a lot of things to talk about.  Here now is Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center, CNBC Contributor and energy analyst John Kilduff and in a moment we are hoping to get Bruce Lanni hooked up.  He spoke directly with BP CEO Tony Heyward yesterday.  Mr. Lanni is an energy portfolio strategist for Nollenberger Capital Partners.  He will add …

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