Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How the Government Slowed Down the Gulf Cleanup

June 23, 2010
When the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is analyzed in years to come, it will go down in history as not only one of the most devastating disasters in our history, but one of the most inept responses by a government to a disaster. It may even go down as THE MOST inept response by a government to any type of disaster.

From not waiving the Jones Act in order to enlist the help from the multitude of countries THAT OFFERED to help us with the skimmers we need to help clean up the oil BEFORE it reaches our shores,  to the complete dis-organization that tied the hands of the states affected.  The only sense of urgency has come from the states who have offered plans to keep the oil off shore but whose cries for help fell completely on deaf ears.

We are more than 2 months into this disaster and this administration continues to seemingly sit back and point fingers at each other while the white sands along these states turn to brown sludge and the wildlife is choking to death on the oil. It is obvious this is not happening because of complete incompetence. This is a calculated plan to use this disaster to further push the Progressive agenda of Cap and Trade and demonize the oil industry.  It is obvious, in their eyes,  that this is much to good of a crisis to let it go to waste. It is obvious the ends justifies the means at ANY COST!

I believe once this has been examined by an impartial panel, criminal charges against this administration are a possibility. 

This is an article that details how this administration slowed down the Gulf cleanup from

By: Ernest Istook
Our own government has quietly admitted that America needs foreign help to handle the oil spill — almost two months after pushing that help away.

Far more oil could have been intercepted before it fouled the Gulf Coast. So why hasn’t our government apologized?

By refusing foreign assistance, we banned both the latest technology and cleanup vessels that far exceed the capacity of America’s oil spill response vessels (OSRVs). We rejected ships with 10 times the capability of the vessels we used instead.

In a quiet announcement on June 18, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) finally agreed that we need help, describing a conclusion reached two days before:

“. . . the FOSC, in coordination with other federal agencies, determined on June 16, 2010, pursuant to 46 U.S.C. §55113, that
there are an insufficient number of specialized oil skimming vessels in the U.S. to keep pace with the unprecedented levels of oil discharges in the Gulf of Mexico. Based upon this determination, foreign specialized skimming vessels may be deployed to response operations.”

Technically, the Jones Act remains unwaived and continues to restrict use of foreign vessels other than OSRV’s. Officials invoked only a limited exemption that was put into law after Hurricane Katrina.

By their delay, our bureaucracy and government regulation have made a horrible situation even worse. There were two weeks between the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and the time when the first oil made landfall. And it was almost six additional weeks before specialized equipment from overseas was approved by our government for limited use.

The Dutch formally offered help on April 25.
Not until June 14 did the U.S. State Department announce that some foreign help would be welcomed from the 17 nations who had been trying to assist.

We violated a basic rule of oil spills: “The key to avoiding catastrophic damage and extreme liability is a fast response.”

So what’s different about the foreign equipment that at long last is being deployed? Capacity, for one. They can do far more and do it more quickly.

To protect the North Sea — a major petroleum-producing area — Europe created cooperatives such as Norway’s Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO), assembling resources that far surpass America’s.

The largest American OSRV I’ve found has only a 4,000-barrel capacity. Compare that to Norway’s new cleanup standards, which state, “An active effort must always be made to achieve the largest possible tank capacity. Under no circumstances must the tank capacity for storage of recovered oil be less than 1,500 m³.” 1,500 cubic meters is 9,400 barrels. None of our U.S. oil recovery vessels appear to come even close to this standard.

The European Union maintains a multi-faceted inventory of OSRVs. The Netherlands alone lists 11 ships that exceed this 9,400-barrel capacity, including vessels like the
Geopotes 14 that reportedly can pick up and contain 47,000 barrels at a time. That’s 10 times larger than any U.S. ship we’ve been using.

Collecting more oil in each run enables more time spent collecting oil and less time carrying oil back to a storage facility.

There’s another problem with how U.S. regulations are slowing down the cleanup. The Dutch are now providing skimmers that can be attached to American vessels. But because most of what’s skimmed is unavoidably water, not oil, they complain that America’s EPA standards won’t let them put back the water. Thus their tanks fill up with a mixture that is mostly water.

That mix is a serious problem. The Incident Commander, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, told the media on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water — the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10 percent or 15 percent on that.”

That means 85 percent to 90 percent of what is collected is water, not oil. If complaints are correct, then unless vessels can separate these at sea and discharge the water, most of what they haul back to a storage facility is water. That means six or seven trips to carry one full load of skimmed oil. Complaints are that our EPA says discharged water from the skimming cannot exceed 15 ppm (parts per million) of oil.

Radio Netherlands reported:

“The Americans don’t have spill response vessels with skimmers because their environment regulations do not allow it. With the Dutch method, seawater is sucked up with the oil by the skimmer. The oil is stored in the tanker and the superfluous water is pumped overboard. But the water does contain some oil residue, and that is too much according to U.S. environment regulations.

“Wierd Koops [head of the Dutch consortium, Spill Response Group Holland] thinks the U.S. approach is nonsense, because otherwise you would have to store the surplus seawater in the tanks as well.

“[Says Koops],
“We say no, you have to get as much oil as possible into the storage tanks and as little water as possible. So we pump the water, which contains drops of oil, back overboard.”

“U.S. regulations are contradictory, Mr. Koops stresses. Pumping water back into the sea with oil residue is not allowed.”

He is not alone in criticizing America’s restrictions on the cleanup efforts. Several Democrats in Congress have joined the calls to get our bureaucracy out of the way.

Rep. Corinne Brown, D-Fla., said at a hearing, "We are in emergency mode; we need skimmers . . . There are small boats, I guess, but we need the big ones. I understand they are available in other countries."

We indeed need the big cleanup ships that America must get from overseas. Who knows how many livelihoods — and how much of the environment — would have been spared if our government had not drug its bureaucratic feet and invited them two months ago?

BP has apologized. And still must be held accountable. But where’s the apology from our government — and the accountability?

Ernest Istook served 14 years as a U.S. congressman and is now a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

UPDATE 6/15/10

Two Monster One Ton Tarballs Hit Florida Waters. Will Coast Guard Test If They Where From BP Spill?

A local ABC News station has reported that two monster tarballs weighing one ton each have been found in Florida.
The reports says:
"two one-ton tarballs found south of Perdido Pass.

The crew of the life boat — “Sailfish” — which is a Vessel of Opportunity — discovered them.
A petty officer with the US Coast Guard took a picture on Saturday."
 While this is floating around President Obama yesterday declared Gulf seafood safe to eat
Barack Obama also promised Monday that “things are going to return to normal” along the stricken Gulf Coast and the region’s fouled waters will be in even better shape than before the catastrophic BP oil spill.

He declared, “I am confident that we’re going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before.”

Better than before? That seems to contradict claims by scientists who say the cleaning the wetlands may be impossible.

Read more about this story: Alexander Higgins~Monster tar balls

UPDATE 6/23/10
Source Gateway Pundit:

Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 6:14 AM
The Obama Administration continues to act as if they want the Gulf oil spill to destroy as much of the coastline as possible.
– They have only accepted assistance from 5 of 28 countries.
– It took the Obama Administration 53 days to accept help from the Dutch and British.
– It took 58 days to mobilize the US military to the Gulf.
– They shut down crude-sucking barges due to fire extinguisher concerns.
– They ignore oil boom manufacturers that have miles of product stockpiled in their warehouses.
– They only have moved 5 of 2,000 oil skimmers to the disaster area off of Florida.
– The president continues to hit the golf course, ball games, hold BBQ’s and party while the coast drowns in oil.

The federal government is shutting down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico. The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.
This is not just illogical, it is criminal.

 Read More here: Unreal. Determined to Destroy Gulf Coast Feds Shut Down Sand Berm Dredging!

No comments:

Post a Comment