Making public policy remains complicated and often difficult due to the number of entities involved and to time limits caused by disasters such as that in the Gulf of Mexico when the BP oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 22, 2010.
Policy refers to the regulations set to prevent disasters and to the guidelines that need to be used if a disaster occurs. Public policy is a politically decided upon decision made by government officials to solve or ameliorate a problem (such as the explosion which caused 11 deaths plus oil gushing into the Gulf).
The public complained because President Obama didn’t immediately react to the environmental disaster even though the White House blog kept an hourly diary from the moment he learned of the explosion. The public perceived the oil in the Gulf as the problem. The President knew his priority was a “search and rescue” mission to save the lives of any workers who may have survived the explosion. He was following guidelines previously established. The White House continually added up-dates on the blog with the trade-off that the public (nor the media) checked the White House blog for information.
The EPA gave strict instructions on the use of dispersants to BP which BP refused to comply, but the public became outraged at the government for the dispersant use. The EPA had no way to force compliance but kept a paper trail of all communications with BP. EPA was transparent but again the public was not in the habit of checking on the Internet.
Trade-offs are inevitable when the government takes action on a disaster policy due to difficulties in communicating information and in problems carrying out enforcement.
Nikolaidis, Vicki “EPA and BP Lock Horns on BP’s Use of Dispersants on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.” http://www.associatedcontent.com. Yahoo News, 9 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.
Daniels, R. “PPA 503 – The Public Policy-Making Process Lecture 2a – The Context of Public Policy Values and Environment” http://www. csub.edu/~rdaniels/ppa_503_lecture2a.ppt. n.d. n.p. Web.1 Aug. 2011.
White House Blog “Deepwater BP Oil Spill” http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/ . www.whitehouse.gov, 26 Apr. to 29 August 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.
Zuckerman, Ed “Disaster in the Gulf.” http://publicpolicymatters.com/gulfoilspill.html, n.p. 5 July 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.