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An avertible catastrophe

I have only just come across this article by Lawrence Solomon in the (Ontario) Financial Post of June 26 – about the five-star lunacy of the US government’s response to offers of help in cleaning up the mess. Highlights:

Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. …

…the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers …

… The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks … By May 5, … the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment

… 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.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. … 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. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berms to minimize the damage is imperative. Again, the U.S. government priority is on U.S. jobs, with the Dutch asked to train American workers rather than to build the berms. …

Draw your own conclusions.

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18 comments to An avertible catastrophe

  • Yes, I spotted this a while ago and probably should have blogged it, so cheers Chris…

    …it does beggar belief, doesn’t it? Better to let a morass of oil filled water remain than pump back almost oil free water. Is there no problem that the state cannot make spectacularly worse? Truly an example of “Little America” governmental culture at its very worst.

  • Siha Sapa

    Americans aren’t overwhelmed by the blow-out and spill, Obama is the one overwhelmed.

  • My guess is that statists and governmental meddlers in the USA have got sloppy, on account of their cock-ups and absurdities not being properly reported by the regular media.

    Now that the internet is here to really dig into stories like this, without that uniform presumption that all regulation is good and noble, well, that makes it a whole new world.

  • Jobrag

    I wish I just wish that I was a lawyer in Louisiana right now.

  • John B

    Nothing like a viable environmental catastrophe to further the agenda of the green-for-profit movement.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Chris – and is not just normal Federal government incompetance.

    For example even George Walker Bush (who the left, sometimes quite correctly, denounce as out-to-lunch) had suspended the Jones Act (the Act that forbids non American ships to operate in these waters) within a day or so of Katrina – so that people could come and help. Barack Obama did not suspend the Jones Act FOR MONTHS.

    When the FACTS lead to a “paranoid” conclusion it is not a paranoid conclusion – it is a logical one.

    And the logical conclusion that the facts lead to is that President Barack Obama WANTED this terrible event to be the mess it has been.

    Next one can try and work out possible motives… For example to give him an excuse to close down American off shore drilling (of course the Federal government still SUBSIDIZES off shore drilling in the waters of Brazil – but that is a venture by the majority state owned company in which George Soros has a stake, so it is a nice thing) to both increase the chances of his Green economy stuff being passed by Congress – and to undermine the private economy generally (and increase dependence on government).

    However, if people just scream “paranoid” when one points out that Barack Obama clearly wanted this mess, then no further conversation is possible.

  • RW

    Today I learned (courtesy of Wattsupwiththat) a new piece of jargon which seems appropriate here: FUBAR

  • Laird

    I had known a little of this, but not with this level of detail. Thanks for posting the article.

    It is an astounding tale of governmental incompetence and arrogance, but surely that surprises no one. Truly, Obama has put the “ass” in disaster.

  • Jerry

    All part of the template folks.
    Intentional from top to bottom.
    This will help push the idiocy of – we can all live using ONLY solar cells and windmills and eat only mushrooms and twigs ( AKA – the Green agenda ).
    This will help TOTALLY STOP offshore drilling, The ONLY reason that this well is a MILE deep is because the GREEN idiots have succeeded in prohibiting drilling much close to shore ( ruins the view !! )
    Also notice that NO ONE is talking about repealing that disaster laughingly called Obamacare !!
    All part of the template of using an ACCIDENT to further the causes of stupidity.

  • I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry for my now-defunct podcast, Brass Balls Radio, a couple of years ago. He is a climate change agnostic – he will believe the science, but has yet to see any concrete science coming from the pro-side. Only more questions. Questions and touchy-feeling do-gooderism shouldn’t be fueling multi-billion dollar public policy. More attention should be paid internationally to guys like Solomon.


  • John K

    I sincerely hope BP’s lawyers get on to this when the Feds try and shake the company down, as they will. Tony Hayward comes across as a bit of a wet lettuce to me. BP needs someone to fight for them. They paid out $2o billion of their sharholders’ money to the Feds, without getting so much as a “thank you” from the Manchurian Candidate. BP really needs to start fighting back, or it really will soon be “Beyond Petroleum”.

  • Moss

    Without a doubt this was intentional.
    Obama et al have made too big a deal out fo their superiority not use a “we were stupid” Get Out Of Jail Free card here.
    Mr. “Never let a crisis go to waste” wanted and helped create a crisis, and trusted the pro-Democrat MSM to play along and hide the news that would turn this into Katrina (in which the MSM falsified reports to hurt Bush, BTW).
    Look at the guy’s plans to end coal electric plants in this country. He was quite open about his desire to make them unaffordable and shut them down.
    Do you think that his feelings about oil are any different?
    The initial BP blow out was an accident. Falling to respond and actively stopping the proper responses was intentional.
    He saw an opportunity to turn a bad accident into a crisis and grabbed it. The MSM has been covering for him by not reporting this story and focusing all the blame on BP.

  • The EPA and the environmental movement, especially in the US, has done more damage to the environment and environment friendly innovation in recent years than anything else in history.

  • Jobrag

    Do I sence the subtle hand of BP’s PR dept in this story? Or is that too cynical?

  • Jobrag: even if that is true (as it well could be), one would still have to disprove the facts alleged in the article for this to be of any interest.

  • They also stopped a whole load of oil skimming vessels from working in the marshlands because the regulators were not satisfied with the fire extinguishers on board.

    The idiocy of all this is not being lost on all Americans, so there is some hope some good will come of it all.

  • They also stopped a whole load of oil skimming vessels from working in the marshlands because the regulators were not satisfied with the fire extinguishers on board.

    The idiocy of all this is not being lost on all Americans, so there is some hope some good will come of it all.

  • CaptDMO

    AND they stopped all “flyover” reporting by unapproved
    camermen, AND “responded” by shutting down ALL other productive oil wells “of THAT type”.

    I’ve heard no edict on the voluntary ban of unessential political/entertainment/activist private jet/limo/gub’mint car travel, or even self imposed natural gas powered sushi/tofu barbecue restrictions. But I HAVE heard, in more detail than “administration friendly”(to a fault) media folk could POSSIBLY muster on their own so “serendipitously”, about Libia-terrorist-for-oil-deal, two days before it looked like the folks working for BP were going to end the immediate “crisis”.

    Not to worry, there’ll be PLENTY of oil covered swans,
    washed up tar balls on tourist beaches, and “suddenly” unemployed petro-workers in photo-ops
    leading all the way up to just after the the next Presidential voting day.

    I wonder if there’ll be enough work available for Mexican Nationals, in Mexico, to clean up the mess in The Gulf of Mexico, that it attracts Mexican “immigrants” to Mexico?
    I wonder what the policy on recently unemployed Anglo-Americans is on that one?