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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

H.R. 3534 (Clear Act) - "Before We Add More Bureaucracies to the Equation, Shouldn't We Ask How the Existing Ones Did?"

July 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Tom McClintock (CA-04) made the following remarks during a debate in the House of Representatives today about H.R. 3534 (Clear Act).  In his remarks the Congressman discussed the response to the oil spill in the Gulf:

“Before we add more bureaucracies to the equation, shouldn’t we ask how the existing ones did?

“The administration ignored the contingency plan that NOAA’s former Oil Spill Response Coordinator says could have burned off 95 percent of the oil spill from day one.  It took them eight days to do a test burn.

“In the two weeks after the spill, 13 countries offered the assistance of their surface oil skimmers.  The administration told them “thanks but no thanks.”

“As the oil approached shore, the Administration shut down oil skimming barges for lack of life jackets.  It never occurred to them to simply bring out more life jackets.

“Skimmers that could have removed 95 percent of surface oil were forbidden by the EPA for a month because they didn’t remove 99.9985 percent.

“For more than a month, the governors of the states begged the administration for permission to take emergency action to protect their shorelines, to no avail.

“And now we want more bureaucrats?

“The problem is not a lack of bureaucracy.  The problem is a tangled mess of rigid regulations, political posturing, contradictory edicts and administrative incompetence that produced an emergency response worthy of the Keystone Cops.  More of the same is not the answer. 

            “My advice to this administration and its Congressional majority is this: if you can’t lead and won’t follow – then get out of the way.”