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With growing public anger over the flood of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the administration is looking to clarify the government's role, Politico's Mike Allen reports. In the past few days, the matter of who's responsible for the cleanup has grown more urgent--mostly because the cleanup isn't going very well. Efforts to stop the leak are slow, and are looking more and more like wishful thinking.

  • Not Government's Fault "Receiving blame for something that's not your fault--or that you can't fix--isn't fair," but it's pretty common, comments MSNBC's First Read team. They "wouldn't be surprised if the president once again visits the Gulf region. He's got to demonstrate that he's doing something or that he's as publicly frustrated as everyone else is."
  • The Government Low-Balled, Not BP Over at The Washington Post, Kate Sheppard points out that while BP "has been getting a plenty of flak in the past week" for "low-balling the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf ... the now-disputed 5,000-barrel-per-day figure came from the federal government, not BP." BP had first estimated 1,000 barrels, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration revised to 5,000, and BP later "affirmed" the higher estimate.
  • Government Hands Tied, Legally Jeff McMahon at True/Slant slams progressives who have been criticizing the administration's response:
The Oil Pollution Act, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, restricts government involvement in oil spills to a supervisory role. The law was designed to avoid the situation that followed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, in which the government was left to clean up a private company's mess and then had to sue the company to recover costs. The same act restricts the liability of oil companies to $75 million, although they remain fully responsible for completing the clean up. That's why BP is required to clean up its own mess.
  • Does It Matter? Neither Can Do Anything "The US government has readily admitted that it does not have the skill of equipment to stop the oil rising from the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon rig," points out 24/7 Wall St.'s Douglas McIntyre. "And, it is beginning to question whether BP plc ... has any solutions at all." He concludes that "as hard has it may be to admit, the leak may be beyond the ability of technology to cure, and only the eventual exhaustion of the pressure from under the ocean's floor will stop the spill from expanding."
  • So 'Find Someone Who Can,' demands a frustrated Peter Scheer at TruthDig. "It isn't enough to simply blame BP for not getting the job done. Go out and find someone who can. Lead. Give orders."

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