Sunday, June 27, 2010

 

Obama's Continuing Failure

By now everyone and their brother has written about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. To even the casual observer the Obama administration mishandled the event from the start and continues to mishandle it.

Instapundit points out an article in Financial Post about how help from the Dutch was squandered, piddled about, and delayed due to political and bureaucratic bullshit.

The paragraphs Instapundit quotes say an awful lot, not just about the handling of the oil spill but how we can expect Obama style government to work in general, including areas such as health care.
Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.

The Dutch fall into the first group. 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. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks. . . .

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. . . .

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.
Some are foolish enough the think that Obama's strong arming to get BP to commit to $20 billion to pay to to those damaged by the oil spill is change they can believe in. The change you can really believe in is ineffective, incompetent government serving special interests and seeking to expand its power at every opportunity, no matter what the cost.

Comments:
I read through his article and couldn't find one link to the news-story, press release, or other source for the author's claims.

I searched the internet and found lots of references to this supposed refusal, but again, no real credible first-account sources for this info. Maybe my Google-fu is weak?

I did find this:

The second internet legend claims that President Obama has refused to accept foreign help because of "red tape" law called the Jones Act. The narrative paints a picture of foreign countries begging to hand out free help if only the Obama administration would stop pushing them away.
In fact, the Jones Act only applies to merchant vessels supplying goods between U.S ports, not to foreign vessels providing relief in situations like these. 15 foreign-flagged ships are currently taking part in the effort to cap and contain the Gulf oil spill.
In addition, the Obama administration has not been refusing free aid from the countries. Politifact provides the following list of countries which have contributed to the relief effort:
From Mexico -- Two skimmers and 13,780 feet of boom (accepted in early May).

From Norway -- Eight skimming systems (accepted in early May).

From Netherlands -- Three sets of Koseq Rigid Sweeping Arms, which attach to the sides of ships and gather oil (accepted on May 23).

From Canada -- 9,843 feet of boom (accepted on June 4).
Politifact, along with the Associated Press, also notes that much of the foreign assistance is not being offered for free. Instead, during our time of crisis, many countries seem to be knocking our door essentially trying to sell us their goods and services. It is slightly more understandable why the Obama administration would not be entirely welcoming to these sales pitches. By buying foreign assistance when we could buy the same services or equipment domestically, we would essentially be shipping jobs overseas as part of the response to the Gulf oil spill.

Here's the source(s):
http://www.examiner.com/x-5738-Political-Buzz-Examiner~y2010m6d24-Myths-about-the-response-to-the-Gulf-oil-spill-continue-to-spread

http://factcheck.org/2010/06/oil-spill-foreign-help-and-the-jones-act/

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2010/jun/16/george-lemieux/white-house-refused-international-oil-spill-aid-fl/

There's a lot of claims and supposition out there in the blog-o-sphere, and in the commentary-masquerading-as-news sites, but some research at least provides alternate view points and supporting facts...

The administration needs the people watching their actions and inactions, just as business/corporations/churches do. So please continue to stay on top of the issues, but don't just stop when you find a narrative you like and agree with.
 
don't just stop when you find a narrative you like and agree with.

Doing my own little searching on Google and following the links you provide, I see you seem to be doing exactly what you tell me not to do. Obviously you are some sort of Democratic/Obama sympathizer.
 
Look, I'm about the biggest Obama sympathizer/fool-who-still-hangs-on-to-the-thread-of-hope-for-change there is.

BUT

For whatever reason, someone in the US has turned down most aid from foreign nations.

AGAIN.

And not only that, but turned down help from the DUTCH, who just happen to have a viable, working and easily implementable mitigation for the current catastrophe we are dealing with.

AGAIN.

If Obama wants to embody "change" and doesn't want the BP Macondo Oil Gusher to become his Katrina, he would do very well to throw Bush's "Disaster Response for Dummies" script and playbook in the garbage. RTFN.

If the drill rig was allowed to have a Marshalls Islands flag, I have zero problem with Dutch flags flying from ships cleaning up the mess.

By all means, outfit American boats with the technology and get them to work on it, too. But it ain't like there's not enough oil to clean out of the water. Bring in everybody.
 
And here's your non-narrative link.

For the record, 13 skimming "systems" are so woefully inadequate to the task as to be laughable. This catastrophe is the very definition of an "all hands on deck" moment. Every commercial craft in the southeastern United States should be recieving a check, a skimming/oil mitigation modification, and sent into action. Every available maritime deckhand should be employed.

The 23,623 feet of boom could have made a difference (in at least a few places), if anyone had bothered to deploy it correctly. As it was, however, most has washed up on Louisiana wetlands.
 
Oh, look, another link!

We could have a modified tanker in the Gulf by Friday, potentially slurping up 500,000 gallons of oil/water a day. We just need the government and the businesses involved to get their crap together.

I'm sure the same person who was able to secure a $20.6 Billion committment from BP can pick up the phone to get the appropriate waivers moving. We'll see if he does.
 
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