May 26th, 2010
08:42 AM ET
13 years ago

Democratic senator says Obama may need to 'take charge' of spill

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said Wednesday that if BP cannot stop the oil spill today, President Obama must step in and ‘completely take over.’"]Washington (CNN) - One of President Obama's fellow Democrats is warning that if BP's latest attempt to stop the oil spill is unsuccessful, the president must take complete control of the increasingly dire situation.

"If this thing is not fixed today, the president doesn't have any choice and he better go in and completely take over, perhaps with the military in charge," Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla, said in an interview Wednesday with CNN.

"The military has an apparatus, the organization by which it can bring together the civilian agencies of government and to get this thing done." said Nelson.

Nelson's comments reflect growing frustration among lawmakers in Congress – even in the president's own party – that the administration has not done enough to stop the spill and quell the damage.

The Florida Democrat, who has been a long time ardent critic of BP, also said there must be immediate changes at the Minerals Management Service, the agency tasked with overseeing oil drilling that has come under fire for cozy relationships with industry officials and mismanagement.

"I think the president is going to have to have Secretary Salazar clean house in the Minerals Management Service," said Nelson, who accused the agency of letting the oil industry "rule the roost."

Nelson's comments come a day after sharp words to the same effect from moderate Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine.

She told reporters it’s not "practically apparent at all that there is any single person in charge at any level."

"I think it requires the president of the United States amassing all the federal resources to help the governors in those respective states and to make sure this oil spill is contained and solved," said Snowe, "and getting all the people in the room and not just leaving to BP - sort of a trial-and-error approach everyday. And you got to understand who is doing what."

Filed under: Bill Nelson • Energy • President Obama
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Tulsa

    To the good Senators,
    If you don't think BP is trying HARD to fix this, you are just wrong. Secondly, the Federal Government does not have the expertise to handle this. The WORST thing that could happen is for the President to step in and take "control" of the snubbing of the well. The cleanup, well, that's a different discussion. But for now, the President is doing the right thing by letting the experts do thier job and holding them accountable for the mess.

    May 26, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. D-FLOX

    I couldn't agree with him more. Obama needs to really step up to this oil spill, people are getting really frustrated about this. He still has a chance to turn this around, but he better act quick.

    May 26, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Peace

    When it comes to scientific and technical know-how, a layman like me giving advices is like going to the theater to do the surgery while I am not a doctor or having any knowledge . Either the patient will die or I will cause more damage. Nevertheless, it is a good try Senator!

    May 26, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Mark from Louisiana

    If the oil spill was getting into the 9th ward of New Orleans I bet the feds response would be quite a bit different.

    May 26, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. geecee

    I totally agree, Senator Nelson. Of course, he will be verbally attacked by the right-wing nutjobs (Limpbag and Blech) and Republicans for interfering with private enterprise, capitalisim, taking over corporations, accused of being a socialist, communist, marxist, maoist, and every other "ist" out there and will be hated and criticized for attempting to control private industry – regardless of what he does. But it's time for him to get this fixed. Enough is enough. Go for it, President Obama.

    May 26, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. John

    BP, and Halliburton executives (including the leach aka "Dick" Cheney) should be dumped into the Gulf oil for a day and see how it feels to have oil on their thin pink skins. Vendetta's are coming back into favor, BP, Exxon, Halliburton are at the top of the list, they should be concerned for their safety.

    May 26, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I totally agree !!! BP has had more than enough time and it is now time to move on

    May 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    Use a depth charge and get it over with.Red Adair would have finished this job a month ago.

    May 26, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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