Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 7/14/2010

By Alex Pepper

Jul 14, 2010 3:12pm

TAPPER:  There have been complaints from independent marine researchers that NOAA is hoarding information as it relates to the Gulf, the spill in the Gulf, and that it…

GIBBS:  Hoarding what types of information?

TAPPER:  Data about how bad the spill is, the environmental damage, any other data that NOAA has.

GIBBS:  I'd be happy to look at some of these things.  I have not — NOAA has been actively involved in subsea testing.  They are — obviously have been heavily involved in monitoring the movement of the oil.  They monitor — they have monitored currents like the loop current.  They have very actively involved in — in our response effort.  And I have not seen that type of information.

TAPPER: On a theoretical level, shouldn't they be sharing that information with the public and with independent researchers?  Or is it proprietary and only belongs to them?

GIBBS:  I don't — again, I'm happy to look at what — what people think that is not being shared that should be.  Again, Dr. Lubchenco and others at NOAA have again been very actively involved in this.  They're part of and have been an active part of things like the flow rate group. I don't — again, I'm previously unaware that there was concern by some that they weren't getting information.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER:  … OK, so I understand you're not familiar with these details, but on a theoretical level, shouldn't organizations like NOAA share as much data as they can with the public and with…

(CROSSTALK)

GIBBS:  I'm not trying to be obstinate, I just don't — I don't — I'm happy to look at complaints that that's not happening.  I'm not under the impression that NOAA's hoarding data.

TAPPER:  Do you have any response to the complaint from the Chamber of Commerce today — here's just one excerpt.  Tom Donohue said, "Taken collectively, the regulatory activity now under way is so overwhelming and beyond anything we've ever seen that we risk moving this country away from a government of the people to a government of regulators."

GIBBS:  I think it is ironic to make a statement like that as companies report, as Intel did today, record sales; when corporate profits are up 65 percent from where they were two years ago. Look, the Chamber of Commerce has a different approach to certain issues, but we have different responsibilities.  The president — we have not in any way instituted a regulatory structure that is in danger of doing anything like that.  Again, many of the things that they talked about in their letter that they sent were how do you have tax cuts for economic growth; 25 different tax cuts were contained in the Recovery Act.

The notion that they would like to see increased investment in infrastructure is something that the president has talked about for years.  So I'm — I don't — I don't think that what — I don't think what they're saying in that letter squares very well with what's going on in — in the business world in this country right now. Is business investment based on the fragility of the economy?  Is it governed by that?  Of course.  But I don't think that that is — it's certainly not a surprising thing.

TAPPER:  Last question.  Some Republicans in Congress are complaining about the Recovery Act signs  They're saying that that's a waste of millions of dollars and should be better spent.  Does the White House have any response?

GIBBS:  Better spent?

TAPPER:  On…

GIBBS:  Recovery projects?

TAPPER  However you want to better spend it, but they're saying it's wasteful, all this…

GIBBS:  I — I — I think — look, I'm glad that Republicans have noticed the — several — the nearly 11,000 road projects that are underway this summer.  We have encouraged states to let people know how their tax money is being spent.  Some post signs, some don't.  I believe that as a matter of spending, those signs account for about 3 cents out of every $100 that is spent on the recovery.

- Jake Tapper

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