And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List, or Obama’s Gulf Oil Spill SNAFUS thus far.

Posted on: June 30, 2010

Morning Bell: Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List – Inbox – Yahoo! Mail.

I listened to the Coast Guard Commander Allen who is in charge of the Gulf oil spill on TV today explaining that 8 of the 30 offers of help from countries and companies have been accepted and the others are still under review by the State Department. ( In this time Obama has sat his buns on Air Force One no less than 9 times with all of them being approved by the State Department.  And this isn’t even counting the State Department approved trips by other officials.)

Allen  also said that equipment they need that is located elsewhere in the country is being moved to the Gulf. (This is the same stuff that the government said couldn’t be moved to the Gulf because what if they had an oil spill in that area!)

If you need a refresher of just how little our esteemed President has done or how much he has obstructed this is a good article.  One point is pretty well telling of Obama’s attitude:

“President Obama summoned a bipartisan group of senators to the White House on Tuesday to discuss his climate change legislation. When Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander suggested that any such energy meeting should include a focus on the oil spill and BP, Obama responded: “that’s just your talking point” and refused to discuss the crisis.”

When the president answered questions following the G20 conference, not one reporter asked him about the situation in the Gulf. Not one question. When attention is paid, it is focused on BP, which is only half the story — the other half being government incompetence or an ideological rigidity that prevents commonsense solutions.

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.   (This is Obama’s play to the unions.  Yes, the union bosses demand the Jones Act stay in force because they want ONLY American union members can work in the area.  The economy and environment of the southern United States is being damaged  to the extent that will take decades to repair (if then) and Obama is playing to his union bosses!  BB)

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 (Allen said 8 today on TV) 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.

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.” For more information, click here or here.

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. For more information on this, click here.

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.   (This is asinine!  Slightly tainted water can not be released into the Gulf so we leave a completely tainted water in place!  BB) The government should not place perfection over the need for speed, especially facing the threat of an active hurricane season. For more information on this, click here.

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. For more information on this, click here.

6. Allow Sand Berm Dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (section of the Environmental Protection Agency)has recently prevented the state of Louisiana from dredging to build protective sand berms. ( UNFW claimed they were not sure how much damage the sand berms would do to the fish and wildlife in the area.  Well what ever the damage it would be a whole lot less than the oil!  BB) 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.” For more information on this, click here.  (The Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal finally said to Hell with it and started sand berming without permission. BB)  (Okay I know i had Randel instead of Jindal!  We old folks can’t be distracted by things like listening to a Randy Travis song while blogging.😦 BB)

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. For more information, click here.

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. For more information, click here.

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. For more information, click here.

10. Halt Climate Change Legislation: (NEVER let a good crisis go to waste! BB) 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. For more information, click here.

6 Responses to "Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List, or Obama’s Gulf Oil Spill SNAFUS thus far."

Great post. All valid points. He should have waived the Jones Act no later than the end of the second week when the scope of the disaster was obvious. The airhead left keeps chanting, “he can’t” but imagine if Bush were PRESIDENT AND REACTING THIS “STUPIDLY.”

But the administration’s lack of resolve and rigid adherence to bureaucratic regulation goes beyond union loyalty. It is highly suggestive of an ulterior motive. As I suggested just 10 days after the explosion, the administration wants the oil on the beaches to incite public outrage. Public outrage over spilled oil = public support for cap & trade.

Now that Beck has demonstrated that George Soros has a significant investment in Petroleo the Brazilian company that is getting all those oil rigs leaving the gulf, we can see just who is influenced by OIL. Not BUSH, rather OBAMA and his puppet-master SOROS.

American, I am reading the public response as anger at Obama for not doing what he should have been doing. I agree he wants to demonize big oil in order to get his cap ‘n trade but it is backfiring on him.

Soro is the money master behind this all and has been from the beginning. He is of course a communist. Stalin said that America would be taken over by the Russian communists and not a shot would be fired. The Berlin Wall came down and the world let out a big sigh and proclaimed communism dead. Then the Russian people “elect” a former KGB agent Putin?!! Putin was elected just like Obama was elected: voter fraud. I would like to know how many trips to the voting booth Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck made. Just in Philadelphia it is coming out that an estimated 100,000 voter registrations were fraudulent; and they are still on the books preparing for the November 2010 elections. BB

It seems The One is in much trouble with the mess with Blago and Obama’s Senate seat and especially with the Black Panther Thugs voter intimidation thing. Altho in the Black Panther deal he will just throw Att. General Eric Holder to the wolves. The Blago case may get him.

How much criminal activity will it take to take this creature down? BB

A calculated gamble. It appears to be backfiring now, perhaps they miscalculated initially. Certainly they seemed surprised when they were criticized. I wonder if now they are thinking allowing it to get worse they will garner more anger against BP than blame on themselves.

They certainly play the blame game better than any administration before them.

I’m reminded of an incidence from my youth. I grew up in the Florida countryside. One day I was crossing a pasture, when I was about midway, a Brahma bull spotted me. Normally docile cattle but this bull was angry. It was a good 200 yards to safety and he wasn’t going to let me pass. Suddenly he charged me and I realized if I ran he would run me down. However, if I stood my ground I didn’t know how he’d react. But if I charged him I might scare him.

So I ran directly at him screaming at the top of my lungs. He stopped, turned and ran away.

I think this is the Obama strategy.

LOL I loved your story. I had a similar incident but it scared me witless and paralyzed. The only thing that seemed to operate was my vocal chords. I screamed so hard and loud I must have scared the bull because he came to a total stop. We stood and looked at each other for what seemed to me to be an eternity then he went on eating grass and I quietly and quickly got the Hell out of that field.

The farmer told my Dad what had happened and that he had been too far away to do anything. My dad however was close enough to do quite a bit. He took me out to the garage (our behind the woodshed) and laid it on saying, “Never go thru any farm field again” with every whack. Then he hugged me for all he was worth because the bull hadn’t hurt me.

I think I would be satisfied if Obama’s reaction mirrored either one of ours just as long as he STOPS. BB

Interesting to see that this stream of commentary began about three weeks ago, and still in all that time ~ coupled with the prior months since the disaster began ~ many in the public remain highly impatient and frustrated. On one side of the coin, some observers might say: “Who could blame the critics for feeling this way?” Meantime, others note that overall the government has a dismal record at trying to manage catastrophic natural ~ or even people-made ~ disasters.

Yes the government does have a dismal record of managing disaster and that is why it is and should be left to the states. A good example of federal SNAFUS is Katrina.
Unfortunately in Katrina the inept City Mayor didn’t take the proper action and then neither did the Governor so by the time the federal government got into the act much more damage to displaced people had been done than was necessary in New Orleans. It was forgotten that the same hurricane devastated the coast of Mississippi and Alabama but in that case the local people, public and state officials acted as they should have and the problems were greatly minimized although even today much still needs to be done.

It was also forgotten that after Katrina Florida was hit with three devastating hurricanes that hardly got news coverage because the people and state acted like adults, took it in stride and did what was necessary with very little involvement by the federal government. Floridians have learned that the federals just make a mess of things.

Now with the oil spill the government again refuses to listen to the locals and the governor! This is IMO a play by Obama to have as much devastation as possible so as to get his energy bills thru. His action again IMO are criminal! BB

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