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Author Topic: 10 Things That Need To Be Done ASAP
Daruma28
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Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List

Yeah, it's the Heritage Foundation, those right wing partisans, with an article highly critical of the Obama admin.

That doesn't mean they have some damn good points here.

quote:
1. Waive the Jones Act: According to one Dutch newspaper, European firms could complete the oil spill cleanup by themselves in just four months, and three months if they work with the United States, which is much faster than the estimated nine months it would take the Obama administration to go at it alone. The major stumbling block is a protectionist piece of legislation called the Jones Act, which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. But, in an emergency, this law can be temporarily waived, as DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did after Katrina. Each day European and Asian allies are prevented from helping us speed up the cleanup is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.

2. Accept International Assistance: At least thirty countries and international organizations have offered equipment and experts so far. According to reports this week, the White House has finally decided to accept help from twelve of these nations. The Obama administration should make clear why they are refusing the other eighteen-plus offers. In a statement, the State Department said it is still working out the particulars of the assistance it has accepted. This should be done swiftly as months have already been wasted.

Take Sweden, for example. According to Heritage expert James Carafano: “After offering assistance shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Sweden received a request for information about their specialized assets from the State Department on May 7. Swedish officials answered the inquiry the same day, saying that some assets, such as booms, could be sent within days and that it would take a couple of weeks to send ships. There are three brand new Swedish Coast Guard vessels built for dealing with a major oil spill cleanup. Each has a capacity to collect nearly 50 tons of oil per hour from the surface of the sea and can hold 1,000 tons of spilled oil in their tanks. But according to the State Department’s recently released chart on international offers of assistance, the Swedish equipment and ships are still ‘under consideration.’ So months later, the booms sit unused and brand new Swedish ships still sit idle in port, thousands of miles from the Gulf. The delay in accepting offers of assistance is unacceptable.”

3. Lift the Moratorium: The Obama administration’s over-expansive ban on offshore energy development is killing jobs when they are needed most. A panel of engineering experts told The New Orleans Times-Picayune that they only supported a six-month ban on new drilling in waters deeper than 1,000 feet. Those same experts were consulted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar before he issued his May 27 report recommending a six-month moratorium on all ongoing drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet. A letter from these experts reads: “A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill. We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do.”

And just how many innocent jobs is Obama’s oil ban killing? An earlier Times-Picayune report estimated the moratorium could cost Louisiana 7,590 jobs and $2.97 billion in revenue directly related to the oil industry.

4. Release the S.S. A-Whale: The S.S. A-Whale skimmer is a converted oil tanker capable of cleaning 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the Gulf waters. Currently, the largest skimmer being used in the clean-up efforts can handle 4,000 barrels a day, and the entire fleet our government has authorized for BP has only gathered 600,000 barrels, total in the 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The ship embarked from Norfolk, VA, this week toward the Gulf, hoping to get federal approval to begin assisting the clean-up, but is facing bureaucratic resistance.

As a foreign-flagged ship, the S.S. A-Whale needs a waiver from the Jones Act, but even outside that three-mile limitation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA have to approve its operation due to the nature of its operation, which separates the oil from the water and then releases water back into the Gulf, with a minor amount of oil residue. The government should not place perfection over the need for speed, especially facing the threat of an active hurricane season.

5. Remove State and Local Roadblocks: Local governments are not getting the assistance they need to help in the cleanup. For example, nearly two months ago, officials from Escambia County, Fla., requested permission from the Mobile Unified Command Center to use a sand skimmer, a device pulled behind a tractor that removes oil and tar from the top three feet of sand, to help clean up Pensacola’s beaches. County officials still haven’t heard anything back. Santa Rosa Island Authority Buck Lee explains why: “Escambia County sends a request to the Mobile, Ala., Unified Command Center. Then, it’s reviewed by BP, the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard. If they don’t like it, they don’t tell us anything.”

State and local governments know their geography, people, economic impacts and needs far better than the federal government does. Contrary to popular belief, the federal government has actually been playing a bigger and bigger role in running natural disaster responses. And as Heritage fellow Matt Mayer has documented, the results have gotten worse, not better. Local governments should be given the tools they need to aid in the disaster relief.

6. Allow Sand Berm Dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently prevented the state of Louisiana from dredging to build protective sand berms. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser immediately sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the work continue. He said, “Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil. Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.”

7. Waive or Suspend EPA Regulations: Because more water than oil is collected in skimming operations (85% to 90% is water according to Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen), operators need to discharge the filtered water back into the Gulf so they can continue to collect oil. The discharged water is vastly cleaner than when it was skimmed, but not sufficiently pure according to normal EPA regulations. If the water has to be kept in the vessel and taken back to shore for purification, it vastly multiples the resources and time needed, requiring cleanup ships to make extra round trips, transporting seven times as much water as the oil they collect. We already have insufficient cleanup ships (as the Coast Guard officially determined); they need to be cleaning up oil, not transporting water.

8. Temporarily Loosen Coast Guard Inspections: In early June, sixteen barges that were vacuuming oil out of the Gulf were ordered to halt work. The Coast Guard had the clean-up vessels sit idle as they were inspected for fire extinguishers and life vests. Maritime safety is clearly a priority, but speed is of the essence in the Gulf waters. The U.S. Coast Guard should either temporarily loosen its inspection procedures or implement a process that allows inspections to occur as the ships operate.

9. Stop Coast Guard Budget Cuts: Now is not the time to be cutting Coast Guard capabilities, but that is exactly what President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are doing. Rather than rebuilding and modernizing the Coast Guard as is necessary, they are cutting back assets needed to respond to catastrophic disasters. In particular, the National Strike Force, specifically organized to respond to oil spills and other hazardous materials disasters, is being cut. Overall, President Obama has told the Coast Guard to shed nearly 1,000 personnel, five cutters, and several helicopters and aircraft. Congress and the Administration should double the U.S. Coast Guard’s active and reserve end strength over the next decade and significantly accelerate Coast Guard modernization, but for the time being, they should halt all budgetary cuts.

10. Halt Climate Change Legislation: President Obama has placed his focus to the oil spill on oil demand rather than oil in our water. Regardless of political views, now is not the time to be taking advantage of this crisis to further an unrelated piece of legislation that will kill jobs and, in the President’s own words, cause energy prices to “skyrocket.” Less than 5% of our nation’s electricity needs are met by petroleum. Pushing solar and wind alternatives is in no way related to the disaster in the Gulf. It’s time for President Obama to focus on the direct actions he can take in the Gulf rather than the indirect harm he can cause in Congress. As Heritage expert David Kreutzer opines: “Fix the leak first, and then we’ll talk.” A crisis should not be a terrible thing to waste, as Rahm Emanuel said, but a problem to be solved.

The more I read about our Government's response to this disaster, the more disgusted and angry I get.

[Mad]

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edgmatt
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What is stopping the government from doing any of these 10 things? It can't simply be they don't know, or that they really have to wait for the red tape to be cut.
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TomDavidson
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Well, keep in mind that a few of those points -- like the sand berm dredging one -- are deliberately misleading.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Well, keep in mind that a few of those points -- like the sand berm dredging one -- are deliberately misleading.

Well I guess we'll all just bend over and take your word for that, Tom. [LOL]

Alternately, you could Be Specific.

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JoshuaD
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The big one for me is the EPA regulation. It's just asinine in this situation and should've been lifted almost immediately.
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yossarian22c
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quote:
6. Allow Sand Berm Dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently prevented the state of Louisiana from dredging to build protective sand berms. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser immediately sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the work continue. He said, “Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil. Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.”
They have approved some berms but there is a great deal of doubt as to their efficacy. I have heard many scientists and engineers say that they could even make things worse in some places. NPR Story on Berms
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yossarian22c
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1,2) I agree but as they explain we already have begun accepting foreign aid. So the government is doing this, albeit too slow.

3) So the administration took the panel recommendations and erred on the side of safety. Maybe they overreacted but until we know what caused this spill and know how to prevent it from occurring it isn't the moratorium isn't an unreasonable reaction.

4) Ok, if the ship actually gets there and is prevented from helping then we can talk.

5) Are local governments being prevented from clean up efforts or just not receiving funding to pay for unapproved clean up procedures?

6) I addressed above.

7) Do the skimming boats the filters and pumps on board necessary to implement this with or without EPA regulations? If they can filter then they should.

8) I think that just happened once. Is this a consistent problem or an isolated indecent?

9) Actually I agree, the coast guard should be expanded. It just needs to be payed for with cuts to military spending.

10) This has nothing to do with how fast anything gets cleaned up. Focusing on an issue politically while it has the publics attention is a rational response.


Overall the list is more spin than substance.

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yossarian22c
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Things I think the government should be doing better.

1) Protecting clean up workers. Make all clean up workers government contractors with BP footing the bill. BP is not letting the people wear safety equipment because it looks bad. Not to mention that fishermen out of work because of BP shouldn't be forced to work for and sign non disclosure contracts with the company that put them out of work.

quote:
OLBERMANN: What are you hearing about whether or not workers are even wearing their protective gear? Are they being encouraged to wear it by BP or not?

HARDEN: No, they‘re not being encouraged at all.
I serve on a small community foundation that has been giving emergency grants for—that enable local groups to purchase respirators and protective gear that are provided at no charge to people in the Gulf who are involved in the clean up. What we have been told by the folks who are involved in the cleanup work is that when they have come to the job site wearing their respirators and protective gear that they‘ve been provided, they were told by BP representatives that they would—that they would be terminated from employment if they wore them and had to, you know, get rid of them.

link

2) Force BP to use a safer dispersant or forbid the use of dispersant.

3) Train local officials on clean up techniques. Then have BP set aside another billion or two to reimburse localities for cleaning up their own beaches.

4) Accept all useful foreign aid.

There isn't a lot more the government can really do. The government doesn't have the infrastructure necessary to do much more.

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LetterRip
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A few comments,

the SSA Whale was just refitted for oil skimming a week ago, and is using an untested method. There is nothing at all to indicate it can skim 500,000 barrels per day.

http://www.dailypress.com/news/oil-spill/dp-nws-oil-skimmer-20100625,0,3072230.story

quote:
"The simple answer is, we don't know what the discharge will look like until we can take A Whale out there and test it," Segal said. TMT will work with regulators to determine an appropriate level of oil that can be contained in the ship's discharge.
It isn't like this vessel has been sitting around waiting for regulatory approval.

Based on skimming ability of ships specifically built for large scale skimming get 50 tonnes of oil an hour, and at 8.5 barrels per ton

Total = 50 metric tons per hour*8.5 barrels per ton * 24 hours = 10,200 barrels a day. From what I can tell, the '500,000' barrel claim is the carrying capacity not the skimming ability. Of course if the press happens to be completely confused or deliberately mislead on this point, it doesn't hurt their pr any.

[ July 01, 2010, 01:50 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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LetterRip
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Regarding the Jones Act,

quote:
"In no case has the Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC) or Unified Area Command declined to request assistance or accept offers of assistance of foreign vessels that meet an operational need because the Jones Act was implicated,” said a June 17 NIC Fact Sheet (attached).

The NIC Fact Sheet noted that foreign vessels from many nations are already working in the Gulf. The Jones Act only applies within three miles of shore. Therefore, foreign skimmers, along with American skimmers, are already at work beyond three miles. The Deepwater Horizon spill is occurring 50 miles from shore, and the vast majority of oil is beyond 3 miles.

In addition, the Coast Guard’s FOSC last week issued a determination allowing the deployment of foreign skimmers within 3 miles because of the need for unprecedented numbers of skimmers. Many American skimming vessels are already skimming in the Gulf and many more are standing by available but unused so far.

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/jones-act-not-hindering-gom-clean-efforts/
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LetterRip
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Regarding international assistance,

quote:
The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the State Department said Tuesday.

The offers are from Canada, Mexico, Croatia, the Netherlands, Norway and Japan and two groups, the International Maritime Organization and the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Center, according to a chart on the State Department's website. The chart did not list the other four countries or groups.

The aid is the form of skimmers (Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands and Japan), a containment boom (Canada) and technical advice (Croatia and the two groups).

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. Only one offer has been rejected, according to the chart: Dispersant chemicals offered by France are not approved for use in the U.S. Almost all the countries and groups expect to be paid for their help.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-help_30tex.ART.State.Edition1.2987dd0.html

So other countries would like us to contract them as consultants, etc. While some might have valuable materials or expertise, the claims about rejecting 'offers of assistance' are at best misleading.

For 5 and 6 - it is unclear that those would be of use at all. Although definitely would be good to get faster and clearer communication channels and a single point of contact.

7 and 8 sure, sounds reasonable.

3, 9, and 10 seem to have nothing to do with the issue.

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Daruma28
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Overall the list is more spin than substance.


GMAFB...don't be an apologist for this FUBAR situation exacerbated by government bureaucrats enforcing regulations that hampered and inhibited an immediate response.


hey have approved some berms but there is a great deal of doubt as to their efficacy.

Great. "They might not work as good as we might expect...so let's just do nothing!"

LR -

The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the State Department said Tuesday.

Only NOW they're finally accepting offers for help. This is inexcusable.

When the spill happened, the coast guard and the Administration refused/rejected offers - especially from the Netherlands.

Avertible Catastrophe

quote:
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.

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

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.

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. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berns 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 berns. According to Floris Van Hovell, a spokesman for the Dutch embassy in Washington, Dutch dredging ships could complete the berms in Louisiana twice as fast as the U.S. companies awarded the work. "Given the fact that there is so much oil on a daily basis coming in, you do not have that much time to protect the marshlands," he says, perplexed that the U.S. government could be so focussed on side issues with the entire Gulf Coast hanging in the balance.



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Wayward Son
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quote:
Only NOW they're finally accepting offers for help. This is inexcusable.
Which still begs the question: why they are putting this on the "To-Do List" now, since the Administration apparently has all ready crossed it off (albeit perhaps a bit late)? [Wink]
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kenmeer livermaile
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Oh, I'm with Daruma on this one as far as the basic premise goes: government is as much to blame and has shown itself as incompetent as BP has.

I am probably more optimistic than he is about how this disaster may affect American politics, but maybe not. Oh, I don't expect some mighty weeping reform for the better but I do expect a mighty sweeping change, period.

This is one of those perfect storms in which politics drive the white house/congress and big biz, not the usually white house/congress&big biz run politics.

My tired old analogy is FDR's first term, in which he was mostly status quo for two years until the situation grew so dire he had to actually DO something more than window dressing. Some may not like what he did, but he actually stepped in and made **** happen.

Then I'll pop my tinfoil hat in place and say that I really do wonder if Obama is purposely ****ing this up so that the energy issue becomes a major populist concern.

If I can believe that FDR encouraged Pearl Harbor to happen so he'd have a popular will to engage the Axis, I can believe this.

Hell, I voted for Obama and expected good, even great things from him, so I'm obviously gullible.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:

Overall the list is more spin than substance.


GMAFB...don't be an apologist for this FUBAR situation exacerbated by government bureaucrats enforcing regulations that hampered and inhibited an immediate response.



The list is more spin than substance. That is why I listed things I think the government should be doing. They haven't done everything perfectly but by now they have done most of the things on the list that should be done. I'm not trying to say the government has responded perfectly but if you want me to agree with you present a real argument not political talking points.


quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:


hey have approved some berms but there is a great deal of doubt as to their efficacy.

Great. "They might not work as good as we might expect...so let's just do nothing!"



From the article I linked.

quote:
The structure that I see that they're planning to build is going to erode as soon as it's constructed, and it's going to have a tough time making it through a hurricane season that's predicted to be a fairly active one," Young tells NPR's Melissa Block. "I just don't have a very high level of confidence that a project that's going to require a lot of energy and a lot of sand and mobilize a lot of people is going to do what they promise it will do."

What's more, says Young, there could be unintended environmental consequences.

"We don't know how that structure will impact storm surge or waves or currents. And whether there are possibilities that it might in fact draw more wet oil through some inlets than in other areas," he says.

It's not don't do it just because it may not work but because it may cause more oil to get further inland in places. Also building the berms may cause environmental damage. Just because its something doesn't mean its good.
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Daruma28
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kenmeer, after reading up on some of this stuff, I most assuredly believe that Obama admin has purposely allowed this disaster to be so incompetently handled, and purposely kept other people from helping out until the damage has been done...

...precisely so as to take political advantage.

Just as Bush Admin used 9/11 to abrogate the Constitution and help create a Police State apparatus, so too is Obama Admin going to be doing something.

While you still have a soft spot for Obama, at least you're not trying to mitigate, rationalize or justify what is CLEARLY a deliberate attempt to allow this gusher to become a massive disaster rather than trying to address it ASAP.

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge.

In Democratic Underground parlance referring to 9/11....

....this is a clear case of LIHOP.

yoss -

Whatever...you can drink the kool aid all you like. Other countries can and have dealt with oil spill disasters by springing into action as soon as possible in trying to contain, clean and prevent the spoiling of surrounding areas.

Our government has been intent on maintaining union protectionist policies and coast guard inspections of skimmer ships lifepreservers and fire extinguishers while that well has been spewing oil into the Gulf every second of every day.

Also building the berms may cause environmental damage.

MAY CAUSE?

As opposed to millions of gallons of oil and toxic dispersants like Corexit simply flowing inland unobstructed?

I can see how that MAY CAUSE some environmental damage....

[DOH]

[ July 01, 2010, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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Daruma28
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They haven't done everything perfectly but by now they have done most of the things on the list that should be done.

Good God....your partisanship is disgusting.

BY NOW?!??!?!?!?

They should have allowed and accepted foreign offers of help as soon as it was offered!

This list is not spin without substance...it's a reaction to all of the things that this administration DID NOT DO or inhibited or obstructed in the immediate aftermath!

You want to talk about "spin" THIS is SPIN:

but by now they have done most of the things on the list that should be done.

I'm finding it really hard keeping it civil while responding utter, apologetic bull**** like this.

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yossarian22c
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Do you want to talk about the things they screwed up or the things they should do? The list you posted claimed to be a to do list not a what they screwed up list. The title of the thread was 10 things that need to be done ASAP. Do you want to list the 10 things BP and the government screwed up in the aftermath of the spill? That is a valid discussion to have but not the one you started. I'm don't think it is being a partisan apologist to point out that many things on the TO DO list have already been done.

Here are some things the government has screwed up.

The government was entirely negligent in regulating oil companies. BP had no real plan to deal with a spill of this size in water this deep and the government let them drill anyway. The government allowed BP to sandbag the spill numbers for way too long. Those low ball numbers (probably to mitigate BP's financial liability) drastically slowed the response effort. The government was too slow to accept offers of large skimmers. I do know that the coast guard stupidly shut down some barges for a day but I haven't heard of that mistake being repeated (if I'm wrong could you post links). The government/BP has been negligent in maintaining the boom so that much of it isn't effective. The government has been negligent in providing safety equipment to clean up workers. The government has been negligent in monitoring BP's use of dispersant, a poison and carcinogen.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
Also building the berms may cause environmental damage.

MAY CAUSE?

As opposed to millions of gallons of oil and toxic dispersants like Corexit simply flowing inland unobstructed?

I can see how that MAY CAUSE some environmental damage....

[DOH]

Again let me quote some people who know more than me (same link as before).
quote:
But some scientists who've spent decades studying the fragile Mississippi River delta aren't sold on the berm idea, and they worry those berms could make things even worse.

Emphasis mine. I don't fault the government for dragging their feet on the berms when those pesky scientists studying the region tell them the berms may make things worse.

I know doing something feels good. But the government should do something that is actually effective. Although I guess we could always have the oil spill response be mostly theater like airport security.

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Daruma28
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Although I guess we could always have the oil spill response be mostly theater like airport security.

LOL - That's the point! Up to this point, that IS what it's been!

Perhaps you're right yoss about the berms...

...but the rest of the list? The refusal of help from the Dutch 3 days after the explosion?

The rigid enforcement of protectionist regulations like the Jones Act?

Come now....surely you cannot be satisfied with how our Government has handled this!

The government was entirely negligent in regulating oil companies. BP had no real plan to deal with a spill of this size in water this deep and the government let them drill anyway.

[LOL] The government was not "negligent." That IS how government "regulation" works under our Corporatist system.

Big Corps like BP donate $$$$ to politicians/parties, and they get their lackeys appointed as "regulators" and than **** like this happens.

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Daruma28
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Here's the Government's "negligence" in "regulating" BP right here!

quote:
During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.
Bet you didn't hear about that on NPR... [Exploding]

[ July 01, 2010, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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Pete at Home
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ouch
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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:

...but the rest of the list? The refusal of help from the Dutch 3 days after the explosion?

The rigid enforcement of protectionist regulations like the Jones Act?

Come now....surely you cannot be satisfied with how our Government has handled this!

The government was entirely negligent in regulating oil companies. BP had no real plan to deal with a spill of this size in water this deep and the government let them drill anyway.

[LOL] The government was not "negligent." That IS how government "regulation" works under our Corporatist system.

Big Corps like BP donate $$$$ to politicians/parties, and they get their lackeys appointed as "regulators" and than **** like this happens.

Three days after the explosion BP was telling everyone that the oil was only leaking at 1,000 barrels per day. At that rate the spill could have been contained easily without foreign aid. That doesn't excuse the government for not checking BP's numbers but that is a different government screw up.

I'll refer to LR's post about the Jones act.
quote:
"In no case has the Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC) or Unified Area Command declined to request assistance or accept offers of assistance of foreign vessels that meet an operational need because the Jones Act was implicated,” said a June 17 NIC Fact Sheet (attached).

The NIC Fact Sheet noted that foreign vessels from many nations are already working in the Gulf. The Jones Act only applies within three miles of shore. Therefore, foreign skimmers, along with American skimmers, are already at work beyond three miles. The Deepwater Horizon spill is occurring 50 miles from shore, and the vast majority of oil is beyond 3 miles.

In addition, the Coast Guard’s FOSC last week issued a determination allowing the deployment of foreign skimmers within 3 miles because of the need for unprecedented numbers of skimmers. Many American skimming vessels are already skimming in the Gulf and many more are standing by available but unused so far.

Why we have skimmers standing by is a mystery to me. That is an epic fail. The Jones act doesn't seem to be the failure point though.

I'm not entirely satisfied with how our government has handled the spill. In just about every post I've made on this page I've pointed out failure points or ways they can improve.

Yes the government was negligent in their stated functions. I agree corporations have way too much influence in writing their own regulations. The regulation failed here just like it failed on wall street. It failed for the same reasons: industry wrote their own regulations, regulators frequently moved to higher paying jobs in industry, regulators were understaffed, regulators had their hands tied by Washington and sometimes were just unqualified know when they were being fed a bunch of crap.

Summary of my position on the list.

Done/Non Factors
1) Done
2) Jones Act (no problem)
3) Irrelevant to the clean up
4) The boat was just outfitted and is on it's way, it hasn't been delayed yet.
6) Already addressed.
9) I agree, just take the money from the military. Although I don't think the coast guard budget cuts are impeding the current operations.
10) Irrelevant to the spill.

Issues I have questions about
5) Is the government impeding local clean up efforts or just not paying for ones they don't approve?
7) Can most of the skimming boats even filter the oil/water mix? I'm guessing they can't considering a lot of the boats aren't designed for oil spills. That is why that A-Whale ship is special because it has filters on board.
8) Has this happened more than once?

Just because this list was politically motivated and therefore had a bunch of crap doesn't mean the government has been perfect or even good in their response.

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yossarian22c
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List of Obama contributers (individuals + political action committees).

University of California.......$1,591,395
Goldman Sachs..................$994,795
Harvard University...............$854,747
Microsoft Corp....................$833,617
Google Inc.........................$803,436
Citigroup Inc......................$701,290
JPMorgan Chase & Co.......$695,132
Time Warner.....................$590,084
Sidley Austin LLP..............$588,598
Stanford University.............$586,557
National Amusements Inc....$551,683
UBS AG............................$543,219
Wilmerhale Llp...................$542,618
Skadden, Arps et al............$530,839
IBM Corp...........................$528,822
Columbia University.............$528,302
Morgan Stanley...................$514,881
General Electric..................$499,130
US Government...................$494,820
Latham & Watkins...............$493,835

Total Contributions $388,283,755. Honestly I don't think $77,000 would get you much. I'm much more worried about Goldman and the other financials and their influence on financial reform.
link

Summary, there is too much money spent in getting elected. It screws things up.

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Pete at Home
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Seems wrong that publicly funded universities are spending their funds on any political candidate.
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yossarian22c
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Actually the way those numbers, including the BP one, are computed are by adding up all the contributions of their employees plus any funds from a political action committee if the institution has one. So I don't know if the universities gave their own money or had a lot of employees donate.
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Pete at Home
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Ah, thanks for the heads up. Strange way for them to do it. That sort of statistical equivalence just begs for corruption.

[ July 02, 2010, 12:20 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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yossarian22c
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I thought it was strange as well.

Future elections will be even worse after the citizens united supreme court ruling.

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Greg Davidson
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Obama's election was a truly remarkable example, where the money advantage came from an unprecedented number of Americans (something like 3 million) and the average donation sizes were much smaller than usual. For once, the corporate money did not play the major role, not only because Obama generated something like $700M from his fund-raising, but also because the economic collapse made many wealthy corporations and individuals less willing to part with the usual big donations.

Unfortunately, with citizens united, and with some of the big dollars that large corporations are being held accountable for because of this Democratic Administration, I suspect corporations will find ways to spend dollars into the $B range in the future. Remember, the giant multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement? All it took was a little delay, and election of a Republican Administration, and all that money went back in the pockets of big tobacco. So why wouldn't they invest in that again?

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Pete at Home
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Love reminding Democrats that smoke, that every one of those coffin nails they suck down puts a penny in the Republlican Party coffers. [Wink]
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RickyB
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"During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records."

I strongly doubt that $77K is the most the fourth largest oil company in the world gave to any US politician in 20 years. Does not sound right.

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Pete at Home
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It does sound chintsy. Betcha they will up their constributions for next election.
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cherrypoptart
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It's kind of funny that Obama was the one who broke his word on public funding for his election while the Republican kept his word and paid the price for it.

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/stumper/2008/06/19/why-obama-opted-out-of-public-financing-and-what-it-means.html

That's just another example of a broken Obama promise and another case in which one has to wonder if he made the promise with any intention of even keeping it in the first place, or if it was a successful ploy to trick his more honorable (or gullible) opponent.

--------------------------------------------

As for the top 10 list here, I couldn't agree more and the sad but predictable knee-jerk reflexive defense of the administration's massive failures bodes ill for them ever being held to account by those on the cool-aid I.V. drip.

If even these obvious mistakes can't be admitted, there is small hope for all the other shenanigans and examples of incompetence being openly and honestly addressed either.

One has to wonder if it's more dangerous that our federal government is this incompetent or if we might actually be better off if they were being this obtuse and obstructionist on purpose. It seems like there would be more hope for better results in the future if it were simply the latter.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
As for the top 10 list here, I couldn't agree more and the sad but predictable knee-jerk reflexive defense of the administration's massive failures bodes ill for them ever being held to account by those on the cool-aid I.V. drip.

If even these obvious mistakes can't be admitted, there is small hope for all the other shenanigans and examples of incompetence being openly and honestly addressed either.

If this was directed at me could you explain where I have not even admitted these "obvious mistakes"? When doing that please remember that the list was posted as things that needed to be done, not things that were done too slowly.
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Colin JM0397
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Some media transparency would be nice. Now we have this: http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=203

1st amendment anyone?

Of course it's for our own protection.
[Roll Eyes]

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LetterRip
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cherry,

did you read my response? I'm curious what in my analysis you find to be questionable.

I'm frustrated with the admins response to the spill, I'm just not certain that all, or even most, of the critiques here are germain.

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cherrypoptart
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I did read your critique and it was pretty good. I didn't want to name names of the people defending Obama but if I did I wouldn't say that yours was one of them.

Your analysis was pretty good. But there is still a lot that the administration could have done better such as accepting more international assistance much earlier.

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Colin JM0397
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The fishy smell isn't just from all the dead critters.
They must be hiding something
quote:
As the BP oil leak continues to gush into the Gulf, and the only solution being actively pursued seems to be relief wells that are about 30 days from completion, the nation is starting to wonder - what is really going on down there?

The initial BP report at the time of the oil rig explosion was that 1,000 barrels of oil per day were leaking into the Gulf. Over seventy days later, we now know that it is roughly 100 times bigger than BP originally “estimated.” Our readers were aware that the problem was much bigger than originally reported had they read the article The BP Oil Disaster is a WAY BIGGER Problem Than You May Think published on May 6, 2010. Still, there were BP and government officials who completely denied that the leak was severe and were adamant about being able to shut it down with top kills, junk shots and a dome.

Last week, the US government essentially suspended first amendment rights in spill-affected areas by restricting access to photographers and journalists. Anyone found violating the 65-foot safety zone will be charged with a Class D Felony, punishable with jail time and a fine of up to $40,000.

In a free country, where the right to a free press is supposed to be protected by the very first of 27 amendments, all Americans should be alarmed.

No national security emergency has been declared (yet). Americans are (rightfully) alarmed by this latest development, which implies that something much more serious may be happening.

Reginald Kaigler at Demcad’s Corner says that Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire:

Here are the possibilities:

1. Incompetence
Maybe the government is trying to protect BP and themselves from looking incompetent. Perhaps they are worried that this will make Obama look incompetent and hurt the Democrats in the coming elections.

2. Malicious Intent
Perhaps Obama wants this disaster to cause the maximum amount of damage so that he can use this crisis to push for his cap and trade policy proposals.

3. A Greater Threat
The last explanation seems like the most probable cause. Maybe the reason why the cleanup effort is failing is because they are not focused on cleaning up. I’m starting to wonder if we’re doing with a crisis that is greater than an oil spill. We now have reason to believe that the oil is spilling from the ocean floor. So maybe BP created some kind of under sea volcano that threatens the health of the entire Gulf of Mexico and now the government is trying to prevent panic by controlling the information.

The government’s motives can be any one of these explanations or a combination. In any event, what the U.S. government is doing is a direct violation of the 1st amendment of the United States constitution. There’s a reason why we are being lied to about the amount of oil that is erupting from the scene. there’s a reason why we are not using supertankers to clean this mess up. There’s a reason why the government is blocking the media out.

The federal government has something to hide.

What is it?!

We’d love to know the answer to that.

For those millions of us on the Gulf Coast, we’d really like to know if we should be preparing to evacuate and getting our affairs in order if we won’t be allowed to return due to oil-soaked cities or toxic air.

Is there really a methane-gas oil volcano under there ready to explode, potentially causing a Tsunami anywhere from 20 - 200 feet high? If you’re a BP or government scientists evaluating this situation, you should have a theory on this. For those of us in the direct path of any such tidal wave, we’d like to know the probabilities of an event like this occurring.

In all seriousness, what are the odds of plugging this leak with the relief wells? And please, stop lying to us. Everything you have said thus far has been grossly underestimated, including your percentages for the previous, failed attempts. We’ve heard that there is a 95% the relief wells will work. Is this true?

And what if, in a worst-case scenario, this well is in the 5% and we can’t plug it? Then what? What is the government’s contingency plan? Should we expect another hamburger and fries luncheon with our comrades in Russia to discuss a nuclear detonation?
President Obama gave us a not so fantastic speech about the oil leak a few weeks back where he failed to answer any real questions about the spill. Other than trying to push an alternative energy agenda, the President didn’t tell us anything new and provided absolutely no plan going forward.

All of this side-stepping and diversion leaves us with the same takeaway as Reginald had, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Someone is hiding something, and we would really like to know what it is considering this leak will affect the lives of millions and will, without a doubt, lead to a complete economic disasters for all of those who directly and indirectly depend on the Gulf of Mexico to provide a living for their families. And when we say “disaster” we really mean it. Reports suggest that Pensacola, FL hotel and condo cancellations are at - get this - 100%. Raise your hand if you think you know what is going to happen to commercial real estate, residential real estate, jobs and small businesses in the Gulf areas over the next 0 to 6 months.

We are resigned to the fact now, that the government will not provide any substantial details that could be helpful. They’ve resorted to putting people in jail rather than giving us the truth. This suggests that for the prepper on the coast, you should be ready for anything, from nuclear undersea detonation and methane-catalyzed tidal wave, to hundred mile wide dead zones and oil-infused hurricane storm surges.

Unfortunately, the American people who will be directly affected by this disaster will likely have no warning about potential ramifications, and will experience them in real-time, as they happen - though it is likely the rest of the country will not be alerted because it is no longer out of the question that the government will institute a full media black-out of any adverse effects.


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JWatts
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The suspension of First Amendment rights in the Gulf area is shocking.

I suspect the root reason just really amounts to bureaucratic incompetence combined with typical CYA syndrome. However, it amazes me that it can stand. We allow reporters to go into combat with troops in a war, but the excuse is it's too disruptive and dangerous to have them walking around a Gulf Coast beach without a minder? That's a pretty piss poor excuse.

Where is the ACLU in this? Why does the press seem so powerless in the face of the Obama administration and BP?

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yossarian22c
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Good point Colin.

Restricting the freedom of press in the affected region is a poor/unconstitutional response from the federal government.

I'm not sure about the speculation at the end of the article but limiting constitutionally guaranteed freedoms in the name of "safety" is a dangerous action and precedent.

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