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  • Our Government Slowed Down the Gulf Cleanup

    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 (OSRV’s).  We rejected ships with ten 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 un-waived 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.

    But 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 14th 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 OSRV’s.  The Netherlands alone lists eleven ships that exceed this 9,400-barrel capacity, including vessels like the Geopotes 14 (pictured) that reportedly can pick up and contain 47,000 barrels at a time.  That’s ten 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.

    Several Democrats in Congress have joined the calls to get our bureaucracy out of the way.  Rep. Corinne Brown (D, FL) 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, former U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Our Government Slowed Down the Gulf Cleanup

    1. Jim Fry Hilliard, Oh says:

      The big question is why: Is this president being guided by George Soros and it has everything to do with Soros’s investments in the Brazilian Oil Company. Did Obama commit last year to give the Brazilian Oil Company 2 billion? If so and George Soros is one of the largest owners of that company is there more to this delay? Is the Brazilian Company going to drill at 14 thousand feet?

      Glenn Beck makes a good case, but I don't have the recourses to see if it’s true. I would love you to follow-up on Glenn’s work.

    2. Pingback: How our government slowed down the Gulf cleanup | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

    3. Pingback: Homeland Missions » Blog Archive » Cleanup Holdup by the Government

    4. Pingback: Why Wasn’t BP Better Prepared? The Government | Step Down Obama

    5. Pingback: Comprehensive Report: Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List | JUST Piper

    6. jon, sd says:

      Of course, everything is going to have some sort of tie MONEY….Companies like ESPH will help clean up, but we need to look to change the way we think about producing energy. And we need to reduce our dependence on oil. Envision Solar (EVSI), is going to be company that can help with this. It is also going to be a very profitable company….They are turning the traditional solar panel(ugly and hidden),into something that can be placed in plain site, and used as a shade tree along with the practicality of utilizing green solar energy. Even if revenues don’t increase huge in the next few quarters, the demand for their products will increase over time. And getting one contract for them can be a huge project.

      See envisionsolar.com/video/ for more info

    7. George Meredith MD says:

      Ever walk down the beach and see a 24 inch chunk of asphalt? That was someone’s very thick oil spill 24 months earlier.

      Put another way, what happened to the hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil and gasoline that came from all those tankers sunk by German U Boats off our Gulf and Atlantic coasts in 1941-1942.

      Answer: it was all gone within 24 months. Just like the Ixtoc explosion and oil spill.

      Wake up America! You are witnessing another Obama-Clinton pay to play scam! What did the Clinton shadow cabinet member Rham Emmanuel say….”never waste a good crisis”

      Forget the booms, the dispersants, the armada of shrimp and other boats, the skimmers and the daily press briefings. Let Mother Nature take her course and it will all be over in two years. History repeats itself.

      To learn more search: George Meredith MD comments

      George Meredith MD

      Virginia Beach

    8. alexandria virginia says:

      Barack delayed it for political reasons. To make the oil companies look bad.

      Soros. Check out a company he founded. APEX SILVER

      went broke on bad handling of hedging silver.


      tell this to Rush.

      Barack is an evil man. Still no drilling in the Gulf.

      Many unemployed.

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