Weekly Standard – Oil Messed Up
Anger grows along the Gulf Coast at the Obama administration’s pathetic response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. By Winston Groom (author of Forrest Gump, among others)
It has been apparent from the outset that the Obama administration had no wish to be responsible for fixing this problem without having some sort of “plausible deniability.” They saw what happened to George W. Bush with New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina and wanted no part of that kind of trap. Instead, the White House embarked on a program of finger-pointing, bad-mouthing, scolding, and threats. Reckless, greedy, and incompetent as BP may be, this only made the company’s task considerably harder to perform—especially with the government’s much publicized “boot on their throat.”
That’s an interesting point. So! Can you BELIEVE the FOLLOWING:
So far, the effort to contain the spill has been pathetic. Oil washes up, and after a while a truck arrives with a cleaning crew hired from distant states, who mop-up or shovel it into plastic bags that may or may not get picked up later. They then return to sit under a tent until the next call comes or, as has happened in a few cases, a sheriff arrives to arrest them on outstanding warrants. Meantime, fleets of college kids using daddy’s fishing boat are being paid up to $2,000 a day to tool around looking for oil.
Each morning seems to bring a new fool’s errand. On June 18, for example, the U.S. Coast Guard apprehended a dozen oil-skimming barges in the midst of performing their duty, and shut down their operations for the rest of the day in order to determine if they were carrying the proper number of life preservers and fire extinguishers. If the Coast Guard was so worried about safety, why not simply take a big pile of life preservers and fire extinguishers out to these craft and hand them around, so that the skimmers could keep at their essential job?
Whatever is done to prevent the oil from coming ashore must be approved by the EPA, OSHA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and a host of lesser bureaucracies.
And! …I won’t quote this bit but apparently if you do your Lisa Simpson thing and go down there with a bottle of Dawn soap and a toothbrush thinking you’re going to rescue a few sea birds, you’ll be arrested. Arrested! You need three years of permits, which are issued by the Federal Government, natch.
Right after the disaster struck, 13 oil producing nations around the world, plus the U.N., offered the services of their dredges and large skimming ships, capable of removing hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil. They were turned down by the Obama administration because of the Jones Act, a piece of labor union-inspired legislation that forbids foreign vessels or foreign crews from working in U.S. waters. Republican legislators have called for President Obama to waive the act as President Bush did during the Katrina disaster, but so far he has declined.
You know how whenever there’s a major catastrophe in the world and we send our Navy in to build water processing centers and refrigerated morgues and generally get people unstuck from underneath their homes, I wonder, if that happened here, if the Jones Act would keep us stuck beneath the breeze blocks while the bodies lay stinking in the streets rather than let some Canadians cross the border and take jobs from organized labor.
According to the Coast Guard there are 400 skimmer vessels working along the affected coast—which, depending on how its measured, is somewhere between 500 miles (the linear measure) and 5,000 (if you measure every cove and creek). There are said to be 2,000 skimmers available in the United States. Gulf Coast residents are wondering just what the other 1,600 are doing. Apparently many of them are required by government regulation to remain right where they are in case of emergency. The mayors of a number of small towns along the coast are seeking to purchase their own skimmers instead of relying on the effort by BP and the government, but that leaves open the danger of government regulators insisting on weeks of training and testing before they can be put to use. When the oil is upon you, it is not a matter of weeks, but of hours, even minutes. The cleanup effort is drowning in the proverbial sea of red tape. The interesting contradiction here is that the entire response is turning into one of the greatest arguments against government regulation that could possibly be imagined.
Hah! Not so interesting. Read the whole thing.
Oh well, it’s all a moot point since the government’s fixed the problem. That’s right, crisis resolved, the Gulf is saved, the scandal goes away because now you can’t photograph it:
Maybe after Key West, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale are coated in oil, the President will begin paying attention.