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Jul 4, 2010 3:07 PM by Chris Welty

US to Take More Control of Spill Response Website

HOUSTON (AP) - The US government is expected to take over
control of the central information website on the Gulf oil spill
response that has been run jointly by various agencies and BP for
the 2½ months since the rig explosion.
The Department of Homeland Security wants a one-stop shop for
information that is completely overseen by the government as it
settles into the long-haul of dealing with the response to the
disaster. The U.S. Coast Guard falls under Homeland Security's
authority.
BP and the federal government are part of a unified command that
is working together to try to contain the oil gusher, but the
government has been directing BP at every turn.
A DHS spokesman told The Associated Press on Sunday that the
joint relationship won't change when the website is given a dot-gov
address instead of a dot-com address.
But who can post information to the site would change. Details
are still being worked out.
The spokesman, Sean Smith, said the government wants to be as
transparent as possible and increase Americans' access to
information.
BP is helping pay for the current website. The government could
still bill BP when it takes over the site.
The deepwaterhorizonresponse.com site may still be maintained
during the changeover, but ultimately it will be taken down
altogether when the government moves the response information to
its own website.
A BP spokesman did not immediately respond to several requests
for comment on the move, which could occur within days.
A frequent critic of the administration's response to the oil
spill, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was skeptical the change would
amount to much.
"Given that the government taking over the cleanup hasn't
exactly fixed things, it's hard to imagine the government taking
over a website making things much better either," Issa, a member
of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in
a statement e-mailed to the AP.
"In recent weeks, we've heard directly from local officials
pleading for less bureaucracy, more resources and expressing an
overall frustration with this administration's apparent
pre-occupation with the public relations surrounding this
catastrophe," he said.

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