Surely You're Joking, Dr. Chu!

Chu Obama crop

With the toner barely dry on Dr. Steven Chu’s resignation from his post as Secretary of Energy, the building of a mythology complete with tales of the Physics professor’s Feynman-esque insight is well underway.


From Chu’s New York Times bio:

After the 2010 Gulf oil spill, [Chu] became one of the most visible members of the Obama cabinet by actively participating in the effort to contain BP’s runaway well, often ordering company officials to take steps they might not have taken on their own, though he has no training in geology, seismology or oil well technology. [Emphasis added.]

Okay, this is where I drop the B.S. flag. Throughout the BP spill, well control and spill-containment operations were under the direction of an Incident Command Team, lead by BP and the U.S. Coast Guard. Regulation of offshore oil falls to the Department of the Interior, and specifically the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Nothing happened to the well without BSEE’s prior approval. The DoE may have played a supporting role, but Steven Chu wasn’t ordering anyone to do anything.

The Advocate (Baton Rouge) chimes in:

One of his accomplishments was something that Chu rarely talked about, but was frequently cited by Obama: Chu’s role in helping to plug the massive BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Chu and a team of engineers helped devised [sic] an interim solution before a replacement well permanently plugged the leak, which spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil in the worst offshore oil disaster in the country’s history.

Chu came up with the solution “when nobody else could figure it out,” Obama said Friday. “And that’s typical of the incredible contributions that he’s made to this country.”


Ask yourself, “Do these stories even make sense?” The Macondo technical team was comprised of the best, most experienced minds in the industry, not just BP. Maybe Chu rarely talks about these accomplishments because they’re simply not true.

Bear in mind, this is the same Steven Chu who did not seem to know that negotiating oil supply policy with OPEC was part of the job description when he accepted his position as Secretary of Energy.

The same Steven Chu who promoted white roofs on buildings as a solution for Global Warming.

The same Steven Chu who said, “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

I’m quite sure Dr. Chu is a nice man and a capable researcher in his field, but Richard Feynman he is not. I’m not convinced that Dr. Chu has the sense to come in out of the rain.

Here’s a happy little going away video for Dr. Chu from our friends at the Institute for Energy Research:


Cross-posted at


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