Anyone have information about the latter?
Even if no government knows as much about oil spills as oil companies do, BP is possibly the wrong company for the job.
I can see financial and political reasons for making BP do the clean-up. It's the only way to make sure BP will be stuck with the bill, and it has a certain aesthetic simplicity.
However, everything I've heard about BP is that it tried to do everything on the cheap. This presumably includes hiring, training, and paying its experts.
I believe Americans have a naive faith in the efficacy of punishment.
Just because someone fucked up and you're angry at them, it doesn't mean they will suddenly become competent. Oh right, it's that damned anti-intellectual, "just do it" feature of the American character. The only reason people aren't doing the right thing is lack of motivation.
Motivation is important, and one of the things can do is motivate people to get the information and skills they need-- but in the case of the oil hemorrhage, I'd rather start with people who know what they're doing if such are available.