Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson was a busy man on Tuesday. The Democrat called on the president to put the military in charge of the cleanup in the Gulf. He also wrote a letter to Governor Charlie Crist, saying that he should demand that he get going on calling for a special session in the state legislature on voting to ban off shore drilling forever in Florida waters. He also pressed the issue with the two New Jersey Senators on abolishing the current federal cap on damage claims for BP from the current $75 billion (The Associated Press reports that BP has spent more than $750 million so far on oil spill response initiatives).
Oh, and between all that, Nelson also said he'll be voting to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military which may come up for a vote in the next day or so.
On his call for the military, Nelson said this from the floor of the Senate last night:
"The President ought to take charge, the military ought to take charge. The military can organize it and be the head of the rescue operation, otherwise we have a situation that's going out of control, with BP doing the running of the show and they're not getting that done.".
"They [the military] are the one organization that knows how to get things organized and has a command structure that they can get things done. And BP needs to be responding to them instead of the U.S. government responding to BP," Nelson said. "Everybody's saying that BP's the only one that has the submersibles that can do anything about it. But thus far, it hasn't worked."
BP says it will attempt it's latest effort to stop the oil flow - through a method of injecting drilling mud and cement known as "top kill"today. CEO Tony Hayward has already said that there's a 40% chance the top kill will fail. If that's the case, they'll again try to lower an oil-containment dome over the spewing well. And if that doesn't work, worst case scenario time, folks, as both BP and the government fear the oil won't stop flowing until August.
Meanwhile, President Obama was in San Francisco last night for two fund-raisers for Senator Barbara Boxer's re-election efforts. The President is expected tomorrow to announce that his government will impose tougher safety requirements and more rigorous inspects on off-shore drilling operations. But as the Wall Street Journal reports,
The steps come at what could be a turning point for Mr. Obama. His administration faces growing criticism that it has done too little, too late in the face of an environmental catastrophe that threatens some of the nation's richest fisheries, popular tourist beaches and, potentially, thousands of jobs in the offshore oil industry.