Bob Beauprez
When the Deep Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded in May of 2010, the Obama Administration was quick to climb the rostrum of political opportunity and seize full advantage from public outrage directed at BP, the energy company responsible for the well.  “We will keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done,” raged Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar in reference to responsibility for stopping the leak and cleaning up the contamination. 

Holding BP responsible was fair enough, and nobody was rushing to defend the company.  However, Salazar and his boss, Barack Obama didn’t stop there.  Salazar quickly imposed a permitting moratorium that essentially shut down the gulf.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu as well as other elected officials immediately objected saying it would devastate the gulf economy far beyond the already significant impact of the well explosion, particularly to the energy, fishing, and tourism industries. 

Eventually, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman overturned the moratorium and ordered Interior to begin permitting according to existing regulations.  Salazar re-instated a second moratorium within days, which caused Feldman to find him in contempt of the previous court order noting that the Administration had shown “determined disregard” for the court.  In a separate ruling, the court found that new regulations imposed unilaterally by Salazar also violated his authority and federal law and struck them down, as well. 

Obama extorted $20 billion from BP to fund an escrow damage account without constitutional authority or judicial foundation.  Columnist George Will was appalled. The use of "raw political power, without recourse to courts that exist for this sort of thing, under laws, with due process, essentially confiscates $20 billion from a publicly held corporation, about half of its shares held by Americans, to be dispensed, again, without judicial supervision, as the political branch sees fit" resembles the action of a tyrant ruling a "Northern Hemisphere Venezuela" rather that the United States of America Will said on the ABC News program, This Week.

Bob Beauprez

Bob Beauprez is a former member of congress, dairy farmer, community banker, real estate developer, and now a buffalo rancher in Colorado

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