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  • Gulf Oil Crisis is Getting Worse, Not Better

    The Geopotes 14—one of many large-capacity European oil skimmers

    It’s approaching 80 days and each day the oil cleanup falls farther behind.

    The math is simple:  More oil comes out of the Deepwater Horizon well each day than we collect.  So after 80 days things are worse rather than better.  It’s because those in charge have failed to re-assign priorities and assemble enough resources to skim and intercept the oil before it reaches shore.

    The feds and BP take turns pointing fingers at each other, but both are at fault for the slow-paced response to the original spill.  But unless the Obama Administration removes bureaucratic barriers and red tape, BP cannot do what it should.

    An estimated 35,000 to 60,000 barrels erupt from the ocean floor each day.  How much is collected?  Monday it was reported as 24,980 barrels collected on-site, and a comparative tiny amount via skimming.

    At the well site, two large collectors (the Deepwater Explorer and Q4000) suck up and burn or store large quantities.  BP says their capacity is 28,000 barrels a day.  But that system cannot capture all oil because it spreads before it reaches those ships.  They want to bring in a third “oil vacuum,” the Helix Producer, to join them soon and raise capacity to 50,000.  And none of these address the millions of barrels already at large.

    To do that, the defenses are pitifully week.  According to the Washington Post, “the skimming operations that were touted as key to preventing environmental disaster have averaged less than 900 barrels a day.”  Yet BP had bragged to the feds (pre-spill) that it could skim 171,000 barrels daily.

    Why is the actual collection so low?  The skimming vessels are mostly a large number of hired shrimp boats and only a small handful of actual OSRV’s—dedicated Oil Spill Response Vessels–that are equipped and suitable for the job.  The few OSRV’s evidently top out at 4,000 barrels (96,000 gallons) apiece of daily capacity.  90 percent of what skimmers gather is water, however, so they actually top out at 400 barrels each.  Yet our EPA requires them to unload the combined oil-and-water mix to an approved storage facility for later separation of oil and water.

    This is why our government’s rejection of Europe’s offers is so wrong-headed.  The OSRV’s that Europe offered are bigger than ours.  Their capacity is typified by these ships—just some of many found in foreign inventories of OSRV’s:

    • Skril Herkule (Norway)         9,000 barrels
    • Hein (Netherlands)                22,000 barrels
    • Geopotes 14 (Netherlands)   47,000 barrels

    The OSRV’s we are using would not even pass muster in Europe.  Norway’s official plan for a major spill requires using skimmers with 9700-barrel minimum capacity, which is over twice our largest US vessel.

    Those European OSRV’s use proven technology but were kept away.  The still-being-tested giant A Whale skimmer uses a new system, which owners claim could be 500,000 barrels daily (again, about 90 percent water and 10 percent oil).

    Why have we kept away the big ships?  It’s not simply a Jones Act issue.  It’s also our Environmental Protection Agency that Dutch oil spill experts first identified as the problem.  The big ships use systems that discharge the cleaner-but-not-pure oil as they work–and that’s an EPA no-no.

    No matter how much cleaner the discharged water is, unless it’s 99.9985 percent pure (15 parts per million of impurity), it must be hauled to shore and deposited in EPA-approved storage.  So for each gallon of oil, they are required to haul 9 gallons of water.  This cripples the already-overburdened skimming fleet.

    Last week a joint directive from EPA and Coast Guard freed up some of U.S.-based OSRV’s that had been held in reserve in case of spills elsewhere.   That will help, since only 400 of 2,000 U.S.-based OSRV’s had been sent to help with the spill, according to a count kept by Sen. George LeMieux (R, FL).  But the directive still requires bureaucratic approval for each vessel to leave its assigned area and head to the Gulf.  And they are still low-capacity ships compared to Europe’s

    Although our government proclaims that a small number of foreign vessels are assisting, it has not identified any of these as being OSRV’s or high capacity.  They seem instead to be playing lesser roles in the response.

    Finger-pointing between BP and the Obama Administration won’t fix anything.  Removing federal tape would help immensely.  That’s part of The Heritage Foundation’s to-do checklist for recovering from the oil spill, which includes:

    Frustrated state and local officials, especially in Louisiana, say the federal government is hindering the response and their way of life and economy are at stake.  President Obama’s continuing pursuit of a deepwater drilling moratorium (blocked for now by the courts) is an extra job-killing burden on them.  Washington should pay attention, and start enabling a stronger and better response to this major catastrophe.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Gulf Oil Crisis is Getting Worse, Not Better

    1. Debbie(Indiana) says:

      We went to Destin Florida last week for vacation.My whole family of 8….My husband and grandson were out a little further than I was in the ocean….My husband came out of the ocean with oil on his foot,my grandson came out of the ocean with oil on his face….Lots of green moss on the sandy area…Not pretty for the white sandy beach.FIrst time we evre been to Destin Florida…..just wanted you to know..Oh,we do have picture of the oil…….Debbie from Indy

    2. Mary Anne Keough says:

      Great to do list! As the mother of 2 Coast Guardsmen I like the last suggestion a lot… No one realizes how the Administration ties the hands of ready and willing Coasties or his plans to cut back. I sometimes feel that obama is sacrificing the integrity of all of our military.

    3. Pingback: Gulf Oil Crisis is Getting Worse, Not Better | Plug The Bleeping Hole

    4. Betsie Yeomans says:

      Obama has responded to this crisis without any concern with this oil spill . He did his photo shoots , and have not heard a word about this since !!! If this was a

      Republican President ,like George W. Bush , well look what they did to him , and he lifted the Jones act after two days !! Well the media gives him a pass , when will this stop !! Obama can not blame Bush , it is all on him !!!

    5. Pingback: "Gulf Oil Crisis is Getting Worse, Not Better"  | Skoopio.com

    6. William R. Cumming says:

      By Labor Day the documented problems now often below the surface or horizon will ensure that up to this time this is the worst envrionmental disaster other than periodic droughts in World History. We are all eyewitnesses to this enormous event but unfortunately its long term impacts appear unknown so far.

    7. Trea Graham says:

      All this malarkey about Jones Act suspension hold-up, skimmers, oil spill, and EPA, refusing the Japanese A Whale, and blaming BP is all being done to obscure what Obama's real interest is which is Cap and Trade. Carbon counts – that is what he wants. I even wonder in my more paranoid moments, if the failsafes in place when the BP well blew all failed because of some really dastardly plan. AAaaaaahhhhh!

    8. Randall Holland, Ari says:

      I think the president is dragging his feet to get the people mad about oil so he can get his Cap and Trade energy legislation passed.

    9. Tim AZ says:

      Seems to me that the LSM is quite content to fall on the sword along with the rest of the regime. I suppose they think of themselves as too big to fail. Let us purge this kind of arrogance from our society through out the coming elections. May we never allow ourselves to be anesthetized by socialism ever again.

    10. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      I've hunted and fished the marshes of South Louisiana (that are now covered in oil) since I was a 6 year old kid (58 years ago). My life is here. I see it all being

      destroyed by Obama's determination to pass Cap and Trade.

      Obama is using the EPA,USCG, USFWS, DHS, ID , and every other agency as pawns, and any other means under his control, to delibertly stop and/or hinder any and all efforts to recover or prevent oil from reaching the shores of the Gulf Coast. The governors of these states have requested a number of actions, but Obama has consistantly used these federal bureaucrats to block or ignore almost every request. Then he is using intimidation to shut-up local offical from speaking out in public about his deliberate orders to not help the clean up.

      Obama and BP are "pointing fingers" at each other as a political deception show. They are, and have been in bed together from the start. BP wrote a major partion of Obama Crap and Tax bill. This well is where it is because Obama forced BP

      to drill that deep, after the state of Louisiana issued a permit to drill in much

      shallower water.

      Since day 3, Obama rejected help from foreign nations with the equipment to

      help skim oil at a much more efficent rate. Now, as many as 20 nations have offered help that Obama rejected. To this day, Obama has refused to wave The Jones Act.

      Obama' moratorium has been struck-down by a federal judge twice, but

      he is still fighting to impose something that will kill tens of thousands of jobs,

      plus force drilling companies to move their rigs to other parts of the world, thus

      make it impossible to drill offshore for perhaps a dacade or more.

      Obama has delibertately prevented drilling in areas of the US that has billions of

      barrals of easily accessable oil.

      But the distruction continues, while Obama move on to attacks another state, Arizona.

      You are still not connecting the dots.

    11. Bill MN says:

      Cap n Trade is nothing but a smokescreen. The bamster want to nationalize the oil companies. Putting BP out of buisness will allow Obama to punish all the English pensioners for Colonializim by the British Empire, hes hates our historical allies as much as he hates white people.

      This punk is a traitor and during times of war which we are in its a Capital offense.

    12. David, Mobile, Alaba says:

      I don't think any real breakthrough is going to come from the Obama regime or BP. Neither organization seems to have the collective intelligence or ingenuity to get things done.

      There is a new skimming technology being developed right now, called the HORD–or Heavy Oil Recovery Device. It's designed to handle a variable amount of oil, work in varying marine conditions, and handles the tarry goo that's clogging and slowing the traditional skimmer systems. You can Google the HORD acronym, or visit WALA-TV's website for a video.

    13. geri hoyt tulsa, okl says:

      Can you help in getting the "MUD LOG" records from every oil rig drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to the independant scientists and geologists so they can evaluate what is going on on the floor of the gulf? /the people in the coastal etc. areas need to be informed of the danger from the escaping methane and other deadly gases they are being exposed to. This is critical! Thank you.

    14. Whit350 Louisiana says:

      There was and still is a blackout on the spill. Why? Whose interest is being shielded? The tools were available to assess the damage and nature of the leak within days if not hours of the accident. That has not been emphasized. BP had to have deep water robots that could relay visible information to the surface. These tools are necessary to set the machinery that rests on the ocean floor among other things. We also have our own individual underwater observers, some that could be flown to location from information I have picked up over time.

      The evidence that has been slowly surfacing show that Obama took no action whatever to determine the extent and nature of the leak to say nothing of making any attempt to control the leak. Both being his responsibility. I understand quite a bit about the engineering problems this creates but am also of the mind that it was both possible and practical to have captured the leak before it fouled the Gulf. Now that the Gulf is thoroughly fouled we are beginning to see some feeble efforts to do what should have have been as the first priority.

      As for the environmentalists, they are much more concerned about their agenda than they are about our environment.; It is not just the oil spill that testifies of this but cutting off the irrigation to California and a very long list of other infractions. We should not only "Waive or suspend EPA regulation" but just eliminate the EPA altogether since it uses the environment as a fulcrum to pry our rights away from us but in no case actually improving the environment.

      Five or ten percent oil returned to the Gulf is far worse than the hundred percent they allowed to run with nary a whisper. As another poster mentioned, the truth is coming to the surface just like the oil is coming to the surface and it will validate what I am saying here. No matter how you cut it Obama is showing that his agenda trumps our environment and it will not be the oil spill that will cause our anger to surface but his total abdication of responsibility.

    15. Pingback: Gulf Oil Crisis is Getting Worse, Not Better - Whitley County Patriots

    16. Tenn Slim, Western T says:


      The absolute worst thing that can happen for the OBNA agenda driven EPA Czars is to actually cap this BP oil well.

      When that happens, all the emphasis on EPA regs control, management and use of those regs to manage the entire Gulf GNP will disappear. EPA has a vested interest in using the regs, to increase their controls over the Gulf GNP. Only if the oil continues, will the EPA be able to influence and control the GNP. BP will pay, sure, but the CONTROL will still lie within the EPA Agency. Control of GNP =s and insures, the life style of the EPA agency.

      These Czars will not go quietly into the nite.


      Semper FI

    17. Pingback: IMF Sees Faster World Growth, But Eyes Risks | Rubber Donkey.org

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