This article pertains to the response following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of the blame for the spill itself rests with BP and possibly other contractors involved with the platform where the problem originates. Instead, I would like to focus on the pending ecological disaster and the slow response of the government to minimize the impact.
Some have compared this disaster to Hurricane Katrina. President Bush received a great deal of negative press due to the Katrina response by FEMA. FEMA botched that job on many fronts, turning away help that would make its own response seem anemic. But there is a major difference. Natural disaster response lies first with the local government (Nagy failed to get citizens out, using response plans that had been developed just two years prior) and the Governor refused to seek federal assistance. Bush waited for the call before finally stepping in. Once the federal government committed to the cause, things went rapidly, but there were still major issues, primarily with FEMA, which was reorganized as a result of 9/11. I would compare Obama's recent lack of response to the devastating flooding in Nashville more closely with Katrina. The Gulf oil spill is an entirely different matter.
This oil spill happened within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. The response to this tragic disaster belonged to the EPA and ultimately to the President. Although the Obama Administration attempted to rewrite history two weeks later by continually stating "we have been on this since Day One" and claiming that BP was acting under the direct supervision of the President, the fact remains that the government was conspicuously absent. This is much worse than Katrina, because the pending disaster could have been addressed much sooner. It took over a month for the President to truly get a grip on this problem. If BP has been acting at his direction, than he has fallen woefully short. Instead, I would suggest that the Administration has been frozen to inaction by a lack of communication and a failure of protocol.
Why is that my assessment? Because there are many things that could have been done. Fisheries could have been collecting fish before the oil set in, but were confined to harbor. Barrier Islands (which Governor Jindal has been requesting for weeks) could have been constructed to intercept the creeping slick (instead the Army Corps of Engineers is bogged down in bureaucracy...something an Executive Order could instantly eliminate) and tankers could have been brought in to pump the oil and seawater into empty holds. The oil could later be separated, but would be sequestered in the meantime. This strategy has been effectively employed in the Arabian Peninsula in the past. So what has been our response? Inaction. A willingness to allow a private corporation to guarantee cleanup, while pouring harmful detergents into the ocean.
This mess is an irresponsible failure of an Administration that is too focused on changing the fundamental principles of America to address real threats. Whether those threats be terrorism or ecological disaster. They will simply do what they always do and blame greedy corporations and George Bush. That song and dance has gotten old. In the meantime, there are real solutions that this Administration could have advanced to minimize the environmental impact of this spill. As a conservative environmentalist, I am appalled that environmental groups, quick to attack conservatives, have given the Obama Administration a pass on their feeble response to this disaster. So where is the outrage? Where is the response?
I am not well versed in oil industry standards or oil transportation. But I found the following article on a patent website:
A system installed within a tanker vessel for collecting all residue oil within a single tank of the vessel so that ballast water within other tanks can be readily discharged into the sea, without oil pollution thereof, prior to refilling with oil; the system consisting of a floating oil collector in ach tank that collects all oil above a water surface therewithin, the collected oil being transported through a pipe to the single collection tank; and the vessel already incorporating systems for pumping sea water into the tanks to serve as ballast, and for pumping the ballast water back into the sea thereafter.
It sounds like tankers are already equipped with the technology to separate the sea water from oil, meaning that the only challenge in using tankers to address this spill would be in collecting the water and oil and pumping it into the hold of the ship. That seems like it would not be an incredibly difficult challenge when looking at some of the other "creative' ideas being floated recently.
What is turning out to be a commercial venture becomes a potential catastrophe if not the beginning of an end for the world at large! I'm no petroleum engineer nor am I into anything technical at all. But what I'm gathering from the news and also from citizen journalism out there, well, get ready for the earth to shake!!! And not just in the U.S. too! For those in the U.S., well, I think you'd better believe God exists! Otherwise, this fooling around with nature … more
It's incredibly sad to witness a disaster of this magnitude occur out in the gulf. Millions of gallons of oil are ruining our wildlife and our oceans as we speak. On top of this, many fishermen are out of work and peoples' lives were lost when the deepwater horizon exploded. A terrible decision was made on that day to use seawater instead of mud which would allow the drilling to take place at a faster rate at the expense of safety. BP were the ones who made this call and other terrible … more
By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca April 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill- Mid-August Status The Skytruth Oil Spill Tracker showed the following improvements from a visual inspection of a map depicting the major areas of the spill with both small and large red dots. During May 2010, there were 3 large red dots on the map in the New Orleans area, 1 large red dot in Sarasota, Florida and a smaller dot just North of Havana. By August, the initial 3 large dots in the New Orleans area were reduced to much smaller red … more
It's a shame that so much damage had to be done to the Gulf Coast and the environment while the government and Big Oil stood by scratching their heads. I hope that this will be a lesson to any offshore drilling to be done in the future to have an emergency plan in place.
An Anthem for the Age of Oil Spills... (to the tune of Rule, Britannia!) "Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves! All those execs at BP are knaves! Oil was spilled, but all for naught. This one Earth is all we've got!"