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Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig Explosion

An explosion that occurred on the BP ship Deepwater Horizion on April 20, 2010 and resulted in a historically massive oil spill.

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Where is the government? Where is the outrage?

  • May 29, 2010
  • by
Rating:
-4
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?

UPDATE:

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.
Where is the government? Where is the outrage?

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May 31, 2010
I think if we look at it from a viewpoint that applies that this is an unexpected disaster (Katrina could've been expected) I think government and the public can only react the best they can. Unfortunately, the same safeguards that should make the areas of governement respond more efficiently is hampered by those same safeguards in responding more quickly. I do think most administrations have these weaknesses. I agree with your viewpoint but I can also see why such things are the way they are, and unfortunately, we may see more of these. Thanks for the review.
May 31, 2010
I can see where undirected response could get bogged down. But when solutions are sought directly from Parishes, Cities and State Government and fall on deaf ears, then there is a serious communication problem. That type of responsibility rests directly on the shoulders of the President. I see the failures as sweeping...from the failure to build barrier islands to the rejection of help from overseas. We sure could have used some tankers to pump as much oil and seawater out of the Gulf as possible.
May 31, 2010
You have a point. I wasn't aware they rejected help from overseas. That seems little weird. I cannot see why they would do that.
May 31, 2010
In terms of the tanker suggestion...the average supertanker can hold more than 150 million gallons. The spill was originally estimated at much less than the current assessment. The assessments range for 5,000 gallons up to 70,000 gallons. Using the highest estimate, you would have 3.5 million gallons per day. At that rate, with only oil, you could fit almost every drop of oil spilled so far into one supertanker. Given the fact that you would have to separate the oil and water later, two to three supertankers could have had an incredible impact on the disaster, making the potential environmental damage nearly negligible. So why have we STILL not pursued this course?
 
May 31, 2010
Mr. Obama seems to have no interest in the hard work of governing. Rather he is the consummate idealogue in constant campaign mode seeking to advance his radical agenda. He is always on the road and spends very little time at the White House tending to the people's business. The response to this tragedy by the Obama Administration has been abysmal.
May 31, 2010
He spent less time in the Gulf areas affected by this oil spill than his average golf outing...of which he has had many. Remember the way Bush was excoriated for his leisure activities, which have paled in comparison to the current Chief Executive? Seems like a different set of standards apply.
 
May 30, 2010
If you haven't read this article by Thomas Friedman, then you might want to. Other than being an eloquent speaker, I'm not so dazzled by President Obama and/or his administration! & the way that Transocean tried to shirk its responsibility in compensation is disgraceful!
May 30, 2010
Good article...although I disagree that "Obama has been on top of it from the start." It is easy to re-write history, but some of us have clear memories. It was around day 16 that the Administration started the talking point "we have been on top of this since Day One." That was after vocal outrage at the lack of response. George Orwell would be proud...
May 30, 2010
There are serious consequences from this oil spill... and the extent of damage (how deep) is still not clear. It is deep alright!
May 30, 2010
I am truly concerned about the environmental impact. I am still for offshore drilling, but see this as all the more reason to move the operations closer to shore or drill in ANWAR. The problems presented by having to fix a leak a mile underwater show how ridiculous our current policy is. The oil can still reach our beaches, but fixing the problem is complicated by the depth.
May 31, 2010
Well, it's up to the government to fix it although it's really not their fault to begin with. In any case, this is where leadership makes all the difference in the cleaning up. We'll just have to be patient and let the experts do their job! :-)
 
1
More BP Gulf Oil Spill reviews
review by . June 13, 2010
posted in Earth Watch
Is this the beginning of an end?!
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 …
review by . July 04, 2010
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 …
review by . April 11, 2011
posted in Supercontents
August Status
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 …
Quick Tip by . January 07, 2011
posted in Grist
It's really terrible what happened. How could anyone let this go on for so long with no comforting signs of intervention until so much oil was spilt?
Quick Tip by . January 07, 2011
posted in Grist
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.
Quick Tip by . August 02, 2010
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!"  
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2010
British Petroleum is creating the Salton Sea of the ocean.
Quick Tip by . May 25, 2010
I agree completely with Andrewjt's position on this! It is a shame that a solution wasn't thought of for a contingency situation in advance
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Member Since: Nov 20, 2009
Last Login: Feb 19, 2011 12:55 AM UTC
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About this event

Wiki

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion occurred on April 20, 2010 on the semi-submersible offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Details

Type: Oil Spill
Date(s): April 20, 2010
Organization: BP
Venue: Deepwater Horizon

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