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Do They Even Want To Clean The Spill?

By Wyatt Earp | June 30, 2010

The “they,” of course is the Obama administration generally, and the EPA specifically. I ask the question because of this article, which reveals that the Dutch offered expertise, oil skimming ships, and a plan to build sand barriers to protect the Louisiana coast on Day 3 of the spill. Unfortunately, the EPA said the skimmers didn’t measure up to their requirement of 99.9985% post-skim water purity. We said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

On Day 3.

It is now Day 71, and the oil is still gushing out and the spill is nowhere near contained. I guess the 99.0% clean wasn’t good enough, so the administration just said, “Frak it.”

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

There’s more, if you can stand the bile that will result from reading it.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing 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% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Ace adds:

Unconscionable. Unconscionable. I read, two weeks ago, two things I could not comprehend:

1) Kevin Costner’s oil-separating machines worked, and
2) Kevin Costner’s oil-separating machines still had to be cleared by the EPA for use

What? What? Now I understand: These machines work (and the Dutch machines), but as neither offers the 99.9% purity the EPA demands, it’s better to let the coasts be destroyed and the fish killed for a generation.

In fairness, the president has much more important matters to attend to: like golfing, suing Arizona for enforcing federal law, and overseeing the Kagan confirmation hearings. The oil spill? Small potatoes, man.

Thankfully, people are noticing and taking the administration to task for it:

from on .

As usual, here is the exit question. What would people be saying if George W. Bush was in office?

Topics: Politics | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Do They Even Want To Clean The Spill?”

  1. Fenway_Nation Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Signs and lawsuits to fight illegal immigration and the cartels the state of Arizona and lawyers, murdering what’s left of Louisiana’s economy, photo ops, pom-pom shaking for Cap & Trade, more speechifying and golf…..lots of golf to combat the Deepwater Horizon oil leak…..

    What an asshole.

  2. Jon Brooks Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 8:06 am

    We should have sent Marilyn Chambers down to the gulf
    for 99.94% Purity. Snarkasm aside, whomever made that decision should be drawn and quartered their legs and arms sent to the four corners of the country and their head mounted on a pike at the estuary of the Mighty Mississippi. Or possibly their eyes pecked out by
    vengeful seagulls and pelicans rescued from an oily death.

    Remember the movie Zulu Dawn, the story of a besieged British outpost surrounded by 4,000 Zulu warriors and held by about 180 English troops? What wasn’t covered in the movie very well was the massacre of the English relief column when they were ambushed and almost slaughtered to a man. Survivors told of going back to get
    more ammo from the supply master who would not release ammo to them because they did not have the proper paperwork. It now seems this same a**hole has been reincarnated and now makes decisions for the EPA.

    ( you didn’t think I could get from Zulu Dawn to the oil debacle…LOL)

  3. Randal Graves Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 8:26 am

    “Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe?”

    Because someone in the U.S. hasn’t found a way to make enough money off of it yet.

  4. Ferrell Gummitt Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    No, they don’t want to clean up the spill. Obama wants to make sure that Kevin James, a nominee with no lawyer or judge experience passes the confirmation process and gets on the Supreme Court.

  5. Robert B. Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    No, Jon… The @$$hole that made the decision not to use foreign equipment and expertise can not be punished at all. “Civil” servant, and all that. The union would not allow it, and the idiot in charge does not have the backbone to do it.

  6. Wes S. Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Two points:

    Firstly, Obama seems to regard the job of being President as a distraction from playing golf or having “date nights” with Michelle or whatever. For him it’s all about the perks and power of being President, not the responsibility. For him, being President is an entitlement, not a privilege.

    Indeed, Obama goes out of his way to point fingers of blame for all of America’s problems – at his predecessor, if no one else is available – while at the same time denying any responsibility for solving them.

    As an example, look at how he’s demonizing BP for the spill on the one hand, while simultaneously putting all responsibility for cleaning up the Gulf on them…while his administration actively interferes with the efforts of state and local government and residents to handle the problem themselves.

    Secondly, the blunt fact is that Obama has a profoundly hateful, punitive and resentful outlook on America and his fellow Americans. The man has so many emotional chips on his shoulders – racial, regional, cultural, political, economic – that he can’t even walk without something getting knocked off. Obama is literally incapable of sympathizing with anyone who differs from his worldview. And indeed, seems to take pleasure from the misfortune of others, when he can be bothered to take notice.

    We see this, again, in his constant search for villains on which to blame all of America’s problems. We also see this in his similar lack of response to last year’s Kentucky ice storms and this spring’s Nashville floods. Those disasters too, like the oil spill in the Gulf, affected “red states.” And, in the main, primarily affected conservative – and white – voters. Similarly, it’s now the “Redneck Riviera” that’s being threatened by the oil spill.

    Is that too harsh? Well, Obama demagogued his own grandmother on the Presidential campaign trail for “being a typical white woman” and proclaimed that anyone who didn’t agree with his politics “probably won’t vote for me because I’m black.” Everything with Democrats is racial and personal, and in this respect Obama is no different.

    Also there’s the whole “addicted to oil” meme, and the whole “America consumes too much of the world’s resources” thing the Democrats have been pushing of late. Again, Obama is a punitive-minded person, and it’s obvious that he thinks America is getting just what it deserves. Especially all those people down South who didn’t vote for him and support more offshore drilling.

    I’ve thought from the beginning that Obama, at best, was the American equivalent of a Castro or a Chavez. Sadly, I’ve been proven right.

  7. Ingineer66 Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    The US EPA and pretty much all agencies that are charged with protecting the environment have gone off the reservation. They are more concerned with paperwork, funding and the process of review and delay than actual environmental protection. Up in the mountains near here it took the State Department of Water Resources 2.5 years to get a permit from the US Forest Service to put a water flow gauge in a river under Forest Service jurisdiction. The Forest Service had to have it reviewed by several other Federal Agencies before they would allow the State to put in a device that is used to take readings that will be used to protect the environment. It is crazy.

  8. CaptainAmerica Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Most incompetent administration in history.

  9. Wyatt Earp Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Fenway – I honestly think Obama just doesn’t care about the spill. I’m serious. He talks a good game, but has been hampering the cleanup since Day 1. What other explanation is there?

    Jon – I guess 99% of the oil cleaned is not up the snuff for the EPA. Ridiculous.

    Randal – I’ll bet that will change really soon. Costner will make a fortune off his machine.

    Ferrell – I believe that. I don’t think he cares, because not many people are attacking him for it. Not in the media anyway. He has no incentive to do the job, so why do it?

    Robert B. – Not that you know anything about the ocean, diving, and such. Heh.

    Wes S. – It burned me up that he did next to nothing for Nashville. He barely even mentioned the flooding. Maybe because Tennessee is considered a red state?

    Ingineer66 – And the buck stops with the president. And this spill is his Katrina. Actually worse, because the Bush administration didn’t take nearly as long to respond as Obama did. Bush waived the Jones Act after Day 3 of Katrina. Still waiting for Obama to do so at Day 71.

    Captain – I hate saying things like “worst in history,” but this is one of the biggest debacles I can remember. And like I wrote above, I just think he doesn’t care about the cleanup.

  10. Fenway_Nation Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Fenway – I honestly think Obama just doesn’t care about the spill. I’m serious. He talks a good game, but has been hampering the cleanup since Day 1. What other explanation is there?

    0bama wants his teachable moment, Wyatt. He didnt get it when Sgt. Crowley arrested his race-baiting academic buddy last year, so he thinks the BP spill is an opening to push for cap and tax while lecturing us unwashed masses on the folly of relying on fossil fuels.