Fracking

The Government's Catastrophic Response to the Oil Disaster

Washington's reaction is causing greater damage than the event itself.

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Incompetence has turned the Gulf oil tragedy into "Obama's Katrina." As more and more startling facts emerge we are finding almost criminal ineptness by Washington compounded by BP's almost criminal negligence. As with many crises, Washington's reactions cause greater damage than the event itself. Yet lurking in the mess are the extreme environmentalists staffing the Obama Administration with their declared agenda of shutting down all offshore oil drilling. The Sierra Club has bragged about how it helped shut down all new coal generating electricity plants. Other environmentalists are still happy that the Three Mile Island crisis succeeded in ending all new nuclear-generating power plants. Preventing new offshore oil drilling in Alaska is another of their primary objectives.  

Now CNN reports that almost all new drilling activity has been suspended for over two months. This includes shallow wells in less than 500 feet of water—despite Obama's statement that such wells would not be affected by his orders to cease all deep-water (over 1,000 feet) drilling. After thousands of deep-water wells have been drilled successfully without spills, the Interior Department, under Secretary Ken Salazar, has so delayed permitting and continuing operations as to possibly bring financial ruin to countless smaller companies. It would be similar to shutting down all airlines after a single crash. It may be that Salazar and his gang are just so ignorant of business that they think the government can simply shut down the super-sophisticated flow of supplies and men and then later restart it like flipping an electric light switch. It's already estimated that it will take two years or longer to get Gulf production back to its pre-suspension levels. Meanwhile, deep-water drilling rigs—which cost over half a million dollars per day to operate—are being sent away from the Gulf to work in Africa and Asia where they are wanted. It will take months, if not years, to bring them back. Some 100,000 high-paying jobs are now at risk. Already the number of deep-water rigs has dropped from 42 to 19.

Most startling is the news that large boat skimmers could have sucked up much of the spill and cleansed it long before the oil reached shore. At the outset of the spill the Dutch offered skimmer boats with experienced crews that could have handled most of the spill. As The Christian Science Monitor reported in "The Top Five Bottlenecks":

Three days after the accident, the Dutch government offered advanced skimming equipment capable of sucking up oiled water, separating out most of the oil, and returning the cleaner water to the Gulf. But citing discharge regulations that demand that 99.9985 percent of the returned water is oil-free, the EPA initially turned down the offer. A month into the crisis, the EPA backed off those regulations, and the Dutch equipment was airlifted to the Gulf.

A giant Taiwanese oil skimming ship, The A Whale, is only now working on the spill. It can process 500,000 barrels of oily seawater per day, but it also needed the same waiver from the EPA which, expressed in another way, limits discharged water to trace amounts of less than 15 parts-per-million of oil residue. It also needed a waiver from the Jones Act, which prevents the use of specialized foreign ships from the North Sea oil fields because they use non-American crews. Previously, the skimmers had to return to port to offload almost pure seawater each time they filled up with water.  

In his 6 month moratorium on deep-drilling, President Obama said he was setting up a special commission to issue a report on the safety of drilling. He's certainly not rushing. It took almost two months to appoint the "experts," yet they won't even meet until mid-July. Also none of them are oil engineers; they are scientists and environmentalists. The Wall Street Journal detailed their backgrounds in its report, "The Antidrilling Commission." We also know that Obama and Salazar lied when they claimed that the six month shutdown had been supported by their panel of experts.

In Europe the laws governing oil spills are distinct from ours. They are prepared for spills and handle them as national emergencies to be quickly resolved. In Congress, however, the extreme environmentalists are now urging impossibly severe "punishment" conditions and sky high uninsurable liability on individual companies that will almost certainly shutter all medium-sized oil companies, since they would be unable to acquire the needed insurance. In America it has been smaller companies which have led technological discoveries, such as the horizontal fracking which has now made natural gas abundant. Yet Obama's energy advisor, Carol Brawner, says non-major oil companies could be excluded from Gulf drilling when they, of necessity, are much more careful since spills could ruin them and put them out of business.

In conclusion:

• We have learned that the oil could have been skimmed early on so that very little—if any—would have reached shore.

• BP failed to follow established industry procedures and made several consecutive major errors which caused the blowout. This was not a reason to stop all drilling.

• Revamping Minerals Management in the middle of a crisis has created a catastrophe in the Gulf that permitted the government to shut down continuing operations, even in the shallow waters where Obama previously said drilling would still be allowed.

Wanting—or creating—scarcity has always been a part of the leftist agenda, on the theory that scarcities create the need for government allocation and control. One of the greatest threats of the current situation is that environmental extremists will use it as a justification to further their misguided agenda.

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a foreign correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas. For 17 years, he was a commentator for the Voice of America. In the 1980s, he owned and operated a small oil drilling partnership in Pennsylvania.

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  1. as with many crises, Washington’s reactions are causing greater damage than the event itself.

    Water is wet, blue is a color, Insane Clown Posse sucks, etc.

    1. Etc. = Chony’s mom likes it in the back door. But she prefers DVDA.

  2. It would only be criminal if Obama didn’t at least improve his handicap during all this.

  3. In regard to foreign offers of assistance, press secretary said, “That is a myth, that has been debunked literally hundreds of times.” Snopes does not have anything on this. And, while it seems there are and have been several foreign flagged vessels used in the gulf I don’t believe he has ever specifically addressed the Dutch offer of assistance and, why it took so long to approve it. Does anyone have a link to a good aggregation of the facts around this story?

    1. Nothing has been debunked. If someone claims that a debunking exists than link to it.

      Here is my claim: The press secretary hundred debunking have themselves been each individually debunked 1 million times. See how easy it is to just make arbitrary claims without evidence.

      1. But, he said “literally hundreds”. Nobody would preface an arbitrary claim with the word “literally”!

        1. That would literally fly in the face of the proper meaning of literally. Literally nobody would do that.

    2. The Dutch offer included the Koseq ocean going sweeping arm booms. These booms are easily rigged on tanker type vessels. They can be flown to the site. They can retrieve any consistency of product, retrieve from the surface and several meters below the surface, and they can operate in heavy sea conditions. This equipment, as well as other Dutch assistance, was offered to our government very soon after the explosion aboard Deep Water Horizon, and was turned down by our government on May 4. In the meantime, the US Merchant Marine was standing at the ready with plenty of tanker ships awaiting instruction from our government. When we finally accepted Dutch assistance, we ordered only eight of the sweeping arm booms. A pathetic number considering the task at hand.
      http://www.maritimejournal.com…..act-issues
      http://www.rnw.nl/english/arti…..ulf-mexico
      Only two links are allowed, so just google koseq

  4. This article is more of rant than a well reasoned argument that proves its premise: “Washington’s reaction is causing greater damage than the event itself,” which is hyperbolic to say the least.

    A relief well should have been drilled long ago, but the MMS Bush-era crony capitalists were too busy sucking oil exec cock to actually enforce US law, which requires that a corporation have a plan in place in case a major leak occurs.

    Where was Mr. Utley’s outrage then?

    I would be less disingenuous if, while advocating for increased oil drilling, he also insisted on an oil company’s compliance with US laws that would mitigate the consequences of such a disaster.

    1. I agree that this article was more hyperbole than anything else, but I don’t think that the dig at the Bush administration makes much sense, as there wasn’t any big change in policy when Obama took office. I hate the “I hate Bush” cult so much, because they make it sound like every problem has a simple solution of “get rid of Bush and those Republicans” that causes people to ignore the real source of problems. Crony capitalism is an inevitability of government, and it is more inevitable as the government gains more power. People think that nationalizing industries and limiting campaign contributions limits the cronyism, but the more control the government gets, the more entangled it becomes with special interests.

      1. The more powerful government (or anything else for that matter) becomes, the more it attracts the kind of people motivated to acquire and use that power. I’ve never understood why it was that tough to figure out.

      2. Point taken with regards to the Bush-jab. Obama had, and has, an opportunity to reverse much of what went wrong during the Bush years, but he’s not doing it.

        I don’t think however, that “Crony capitalism is an inevitability of government.” Certainly nationalizing industry, or what’s left of it in the US, is no solution. But the character of a government consists of the character of the people who run it, including senators and congressmen.

        So to reify government as if it is some kind of entity with a volition of its own is delusional. If government becomes powerful and “attracts the kind of people motivated to acquire and use that power” it is only because those very sort of people have made the government so. And corporations can become just as powerful and are often staffed with execs that are just as power hungry as a senator.

        Power’s corrupting influence is the same whether you’re a corporate bureaucrat or government bureaucrat. That’s why there is no point in focusing soley on the need for small government, while thinking that corporate abuses of power will then somehow magically disappear. (And visa versa.)

        The two work in tandem and that’s why they both need to be adressed simultaneously, which is why I found the predominantly one-sided approach of this article so irksome, and ultimately unhelpful when it comes to ensuring that something like the BP/Haliburton/Transocean/Bush/Obama/MMS(and so on) oil spill never happens again.

        1. Yes but government, unlike businesses, has the ability to legitmatize their power. A business can be driven out of business. A government expresses the authority of law. And your right that a government is not a conscious entity of its own, but the people who drive it make it so by being, generally, incompetent.

          1. In principle both government and business are vulnerable to the people (customers and voters).

            What matters is what happens in practice, and not in principle.

        2. Certainly nationalizing industry, or what’s left of it in the US, is no solution

          Why? Most other nations have nationalized their old industry…and it is working just fine. Not only do they bring in a much larger share of the revenue from the oil, but they also hold the drillers to much higher standards. Our private system is the worst of both worlds. We actually give the oil companies the same or more subsidies than they pay in royalties, and let them gamble with our environment with little oversight.

          1. Because there is nothing inherently more benevolent about a government (just think of how much needless suffering “our” government’s wars have caused)than there is a corporation; each consists primarily of greedy, power hungry individuals, and nationalizing industry doesn’t change that at all.

            I agree that the government should “bring in a much larger share of the revenue from the oil” and “also hold the drillers to much higher standards,” but you don’t need to nationalize the oil industry in order to do that. I think you really need to remove the influence of corporate money from politics, which will end crony capitalism as we know it.

            How might that be done? I think our best hope is that voters will stop being duped by sophisticated PR campaigns (from corporations or politicians) that attempt to manipulate fear and other base emotions rather than offering us something informative and logical. In theory, people will then start making better decisions at the ballot box and elect representatives that really have their best interest in mind. That is, its up to ordinary people to change this country for the better. It starts there really, not with nationalizing this corporation or that. That may seem obvious, but first things first; we need to get democracy working again before we talk about nationalizing anything. And if our democracy was really working as it should, and if the government actually enforced regulations that would prevent disasterous oil spills, no one would be talking about nationalizing anything.

            1. “I think you really need to remove the influence of corporate money from politics, which will end crony capitalism as we know it.”

              That’s a big no-no on this website, an affront to free speech.

            2. I would really like to see suggestions on how to do that.

              Corporate expenditures on lobbying are *dwarfed* by the returns they receive from government handouts or favorable regulation. As long as government is this heavily involved, the special interest groups are going to be able to have influence, because their livelihood depends on it.

              Just electing “the right people”, if that is even possible, is only a temporary fix. Any system of regulation needs to be able to survive the inevitable fact that at some point in the future, people you think are completely and horribly wrong will manage to elect someone you disagree with to office.

          2. The thing wrong with nationalizing industry is that it dispenses with competition which means that innovation becomes all but non-existent. Society becomes stagnant. Rather like trying to make a life in a cemetery.

            1. Nationalizing the oil industry, not industry in general, is what’s being discussed.

              I don’t think competition is something that exists in this industry. It’s more independent: you won’t be put out of business if another oil company is more efficient than you. You’ll be put out of business if your revenues don’t exceed your costs, and that has only to do with you, and not your competitors.

              1. I don’t think competition is something that exists in this industry.

                I don’t think that Lady GaGa’s second album is as good as her first. There. Now we’ve both spouted off about something we know nothing about. Your turn, again.

          3. I live in Canada Chad.

            All I can say is eat it.

  5. This article is more of rant than a well reasoned argument that proves its premise: “Washington’s reaction is causing greater damage than the event itself,” which is hyperbolic to say the least.

    You’re right. I would call it more of a “non-reaction.”

    The rest of your comment consists of troll turds.

  6. I think it’s pretty well resolved that the Jones Act only applies w/in 3 miles of shore. Did the A-Whale really need a Jones Act waiver?

    1. They needed an EPA waiver to discharge less than pure water back into the ocean

    2. How long can these foreign-flagged ships stay at sea without resupply of fuel and provisions?

      Something tells me it’s more efficient (and better for our economy) for them to stock up at a US port than go back to Europe for diesel.

    3. I may be wrong, but my understanding of the Jones act is that foreign-flagged ships cannot make port at a US port having left another US port.

  7. There is lots of blame to go around with BP, MMS, etc. . . for the blowout, but the administration’s response is indefensible. Either Obama has been completely asleep at the switch by allowing bureaucratic red tape to turn trajedy into disaster, or his administration has decided not to sacrifice the gulf to kill off-shore drilling. I fear it is the latter because no one could be as incompetent as this administration has been if it really wanted to save the environment and jobs.

    1. Any reading of the situation other than Obama let the disaster go on to kill oil drilling is ignoring the facts. How could anyone believe that this many mistakes are truly honest mistakes?

      1. It’s the economy stupid, and destroying the Gulf Coast economies counteracts his stimulus plans, which are higher on his list of priorities than stopping oil drilling. Also, in the week before the spill, Obama had agreed to open up more of the Gulf to drilling, showing that he doesn’t have a secret agenda to kill drilling.

  8. This article starts with the libertarian premise then tries to fit it in with an anti-Obama rant. It sucks.
    Stop the asinine hyperbole. Nothing Washington has done is anywhere near the severity of the spill itself. Fine, libertarians like a bit of hyperbole, even if they then take the hyperbole as literal truth. How the hell is blasting a well that spews millions of gallons of oil not causing as much damage as delaying the delivery of some skimmers that would sop up a portion of that spill? How is this possibly a justification for not having a back up plan in place? How is saying that the clean up could have been better managed a justification for the blow out in the first place?

    These articles are sad.

    1. No you are sad. Problem with libertarians and liberals is that its always either corporations or government. Has no one considered that its not either/or. Its and/both. Both BP and the government are inept.

      1. “Both BP and the government are inept.”

        I have no problem with this statement. The statement (and sentiment) with which I take issue is that the government’s response is worse than allowing the spill to happen in the first place. The whole reason I commented as I did was because I don’t think this can be pinned on one party.

        1. What your missing is that the government is JUST as responsible as BP. Who gave them the waiver and allowed them to flout the law? The gubmint. Under both of the ass-hats that we have called POTUS for the past 9 years.

    2. The skimmers would not have ‘sopped up a portion of that spill’, they would have cleaned up nearly all of it before it began to approach the shoreline. And that knowledge was readily available to the decisionmakers at the time. They chose not to allow the spill to be cleaned up.

      At a bare minimum, a investigative commission needs to be appointed after the well is capped in order to figure out which administration officials were criminally negligent — for certain, some of them were.

      1. [citation needed]

        1. Here’s an reasonable collection of facts in one place: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2…..-oil-spill

          The A Whale, which has been delayed by EPA rules and the Jones Act for over a month, and still hasn’t been approved to begin work, can skim as much oil in one day as has been skimmed in total sofar in three months since the spill began.

          The article also notes that because it’s been allowed to spread for three months, “the” spill is really many small-to-medium sized patches of oil that can’t be cleaned up all at once. So every day did/does count.

          1. I don’t think the article says that skimmers could have cleaned up the whole mess but for gov’ts red tape. There’s certainly grounds for heavy criticism of the absurd red tape, but saying there would have been no mess “but for” the red tape claims too much if for no other reason than a hurricane caused some of the delay.

  9. “I think it’s pretty well resolved that the Jones Act only applies w/in 3 miles of shore. Did the A-Whale really need a Jones Act waiver?”

    So far I have yet to see anything suggesting this story is true. Maybe it is, but its one of those things where the internet keeps referring to the same story over and over. Do an FOIA request and get the alleged EPA denial.

  10. Nothing Washington has done is anywhere near the severity of the spill itself.

    I dunno. You really have to compare a couple of scenarios:

    (1) How much damage would have been done if Washington hadn’t gotten involved?

    as compared to:

    (2) How much damage has been done?

    I think its very hard to argue that Washington hasn’t made the situation worse, in a number of ways (some outlined in the article, many not).

    I think its incontrovertible that Washington has added to the damage with its asinine drilling ban.

    1. RC Dean, there’s certainly an argument that Washington’s response has hindered the clean up efforts. But to say that hindering the clean up efforts are “causing greater damage than the event itself”?

      1. By hindering clean up efforts Washington has allowed the oil to spread rather than being contained and/or skimmed. Had they allowed this the damage would be less than it is now. Is that really so hard to grasp?

        1. azathoth: The damage might be “less than it is now”, but if the oil never spilled in the first place, the damage would be zero. So saying that the government’s hindrance of the cleanup is worse than the initial blow out is sad hyperbole.

          1. “So saying that the government’s hindrance of the cleanup is worse than the initial blow out is sad hyperbole.”

            No, not necessarily. By shutting down drilling in the region, they could technically cause more economic damage than even the environmental damage caused by the spill. Obviously the spill is disastrous, but the administrations actions could destroy BP, shutdown offshore oil drilling (deepwater or no) and even damage land drilling efforts. America is clean compared to the other countries that produce oil. If oil production shifts to Africa or Asia, we’ll have simply more pollution, not less.

            It’s not hyperbole. The admin potentially can create its own spill of stupid.

            1. That’s more of a stretch than Tara Reid’s titties.

  11. If this isn’t a purposeful attempt to destroy the oil industry, the Obama administration is full of the most incompetent imbeciles in history.

  12. On the Jones Act:

    Google around. You’ll find that many foreign-flagged vessels were turned away, or at least delayed for weeks, due to the administration’s refusal to waive the Jones Act.

    I’m no admiralty expert, but the Jones Act basically bars foreign flag vessels from using an American port without a stopover at a foreign port. Foreign vessels working the spill would need a waiver to use American ports.

    1. The Jones Act: Proving that “buy American” campaigns screw us all.

      1. Ironically, by waiving the Jones act for the duration of this crisis, more American goods and services would have been purchased.

        Irony, however, is wasted on the retards we have in power right now.

        1. Though I’m not prepared to say the federal response is worse than the blowout itself, I will back off my comments that downplayed the role of the gov’ts incompetent response. I also don’t think there is a conspiracy to undermine the clean up, just career civil servants and Coast Guard people going by the book when the book should have been thrown out the window. More importantly, the order to throw the book out the window should have come from the Commander in Chief.

          1. Yeah, but he was too busy looking for an ass to kick to be bothered with actual damage control.

  13. The main reason to stop the drilling for a little while: NO MORE SKIMMERS. If we were to have another rig explosion like the last one we would have no ability to deal with it. Huuuge crises.

    I wish Reason wouldn’t hire these jimbowalkers to write. This guy sucks.

    1. The moratorium went into effect long before the skimmers did. So you’re saying that we couldn’t risk a new spill because the skimmers were tied up doing nothing about the current spill, and they can’t do nothing about two spills at once.

      Right. Makes sense to me.

      1. The point is that you can’t have drilling going on at the same time that skimmers are occupied. You bitch and moan about delays in getting skimmers to the scene, then say we should double the risk? Nice.

        1. The risk isn’t double, it’s the same it’s ever been. Which is pretty low. When was the last catastrophic blowout? What are the odds another one happens soon? Pretty low.

          Besides, now that all the skimmers from around the world are already in the Gulf, we’re even better prepared! (joking there).

          But maybe you’re right. We should stop drilling. Oh, and so should all the places those skimmers actually came from, right? And when we’re done with stopping drilling, then let’s also make sure that when all the fire engines are tied up, all the factories in the area shut down, restaurants turn off their stoves, and nobody smokes.

          1. “When was the last catastrophic blowout?”

            Other than the 2005 refinery explosion and 1989 Exxon Valdez, there was the 1988 Piper Alpha explosion.

            1. The refinery and Exxon Valdez accidents are not the same thing as this, and you know it. But even if you do want to count them, that’s, what, four major accidents in thirty years? Humans aren’t very good at being perfect, and while that shouldn’t stop us from striving for perfection, you’ve got to admit that that’s not bad for a species that’s made up of individuals who fuck up multiple times every day.

              The point is that there was a plan, but the gubmint didn’t have all of the materials that they were supposed to provide so that the plan could be implemented. Then they wouldn’t let the foreign ships in. Then they shut down the drilling so that the economic impact (for both the drilling companies and the residents of the Gulf) is greatly increased.

              BP wasn’t legally in the wrong, I don’t think, and that’s just my personal opinion. Morally, probably. But they were inside the regulations on this one. That just means that the regulations need to change.

              1. Of course a refinery explosion, tanker spill and well blow-out are not the same thing. Did you think that I couldn’t tell the difference between a boat and a building? But you clearly understood the point, since you tried to rebut it.

                And a poor rebuttal it is. You see, I was driving within the speed limit, but the court still found me liable for the accident I caused. But I was within the regulations!!

      2. re-read what your wrote…maybe you will see that it is not an actual response to the issue raised in the post you are responding to. Maybe.

        1. Depends whether you read the initial comment as being about the justifications for the actual moratorium when it happened, or a reason for continuing it now.

          1. Nope. At the time, the moratorium was justified, in part, by the complications that would result from a second spill at the same time since this spill was (accurately) predicted to exceed clean-up capabilities.

            1. Justified only by the people in government. They were unable to find any oil experts that supported it. Had there been experts to say they should shut down the wells they damn sure wouldn’t have pulled the fraud they did with the report.

              1. “justified” in the sense of “this is our justification for the moratorium.” Your own response admits that, given the current situation, the skimmers are fully occupied with this single spill. The justification predicts that and says that a second spill would required additional resources that do not exist.

                I would need a citation on oil industry experts refuting this prediction, which has turned out to be largely correct. Existing resources do not seem adequate to handle even this single spill. Safe drilling moving forward will need to include new plans to assure that a future spill can be handled. It is probably just a matter of requiring relief wells drilled at the same time as the original well, which significantly increases costs. But it is possible that other less expensive ideas could be found. Hence the moratorium.

                1. Three reasons the experts said it was a bad idea. http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-…..illin.html

                  1. Indeed…but, unless I missed it, I don’t see a response to the specific suggestion we are discussing, that the resources need for responding to this spill would be overwhelmed if a second spill were to occur. They just say, essentially, “well, you could just put them to work on the 2nd spill after BP is done with them.” Which is not, really a response to the cited danger.

                    There is no doubt that the moratorium could be structured in ways that were more favorable to the industry. The question is whether that benefit outweighs the risk/costs of two spills at once. Opinions will, of course, disagree on that point.

                    1. Two spills at once, my ass. We didn’t even use all of the resources we had in the first place. The only way we’re going to get two spills at once is to turn the things off.

                2. Pay special attention to the part where they say starting and stopping the rigs is the most dangerous part of drilling.

    2. The U.S. has about 2000 skimmers or which approximately 40 are working the Gulf. The others were required to remain positioned where they are in case of another spill. There was no need to shut down drilling because of lack of skimmers

      1. citation please.

      2. Chemman,

        If what you say is true, then it is fairly tangential to the issue of “there’s not enough resources” since the resources are needed across a vast territory to respond to accidents if/when they occur. Are you saying that the spill in the gulf is not using all the available skimmers not otherwise occupied? This may, perhaps, be true, but the 2000 skimmers nation-wide is a bit of a red herring.

        1. “since the resources are needed across a vast territory to respond to accidents if/when they occur.”

          …. um yeah….. that’s the point: “if/when” they occur. Given that we have offshore oil spills…. oh…. every 15 years or so, it’s pretty ridiculous to not use all available resources. The point of having them geographically distributed is for rapid response. As my above post noted, the Coast Guard waited 4-6 weeks to escalate the skimming on the Gulf, making the geographic argument completely pointless.

          Chemman’s facts regarding the 2000 skimmers are basically correct, and his argument isn’t a red herring.

  14. Seriously though, does every article on the BP oil disaster have to be technically incompetent and hearsay? Its almost a law that every article I’ve seen has no basis in fact on what happened, what the response was and who did what when.

    Nobody is interested in learning what actually happened (which we don’t fucking know yet), because everyone’s narrative is set and shit, they gots papers to write.

    Utley can go jump of a bridge.

    1. I’m in Baton Rouge and I’ve learned plenty, mostly from Thad Allen himself.. The berms were denied for the first three weeks, then only a small portion were allowed. Then the feds insisted they start over two miles further out. Rock berms were recently rejected because of sand scraping. The Dutch were sure as shit told no thank you. Rahm himself is on the record of wanting to make an opportunity out of crisis. It is just too much to write off as accidents.

    2. I forgot the vacuum boats the Coast Guard held up for life preserver inspection.

      1. I thought they were out there working, then brought back into port for inspection.

        After sitting there for a week, media attention got the Coast Guard into gear to give the safety seal of approval.

    3. Part of the problem here is the people in the industry, who have some idea what’s going on, are either not being interviewed by the media or aren’t saying shit. Some of the silence is due to liability issues. I doubt you’d be able to get a peep out of Cameron, for example, about what actually went wrong with the BOP stack.

      1. The oil experts went to congress and said Salazar ignored them on the moratorium. Adding the two paragraphs after the experts signed the report was a risky fraud. That they are still pushing it makes the administration’s motives clear.

        1. The same administration that OK’d more drilling a couple weeks before the disaster, er, tiny little irrelevant spill?

          1. Lamar, doesn’t the fact that the disaster occured only a few days after the pro-drilling announcement give you pause to wonder just WTF?
            Combined with the fact that the pro-drilling announcement flies in the face of most everything Obama’s core support and backroom boys stand for, I think this is one of THE major indicators that this disaster was regulated into happening.

            The deep drilling was undertaken even though the crews on site, the regulators, and BP, ALL knew that the preliminary cementing operations to anchor the outer pipe in bedrock and the inner pipe to the outer pipe, had all FAILED!

            1. No, it doesn’t give me pause to wonder WTF. And the pro-drilling announcement flies in the face of what you perceive to be Obama’s agenda, not the Obama who campaigned on more oil leases in Alaska, and who basically hedged his position saying that more drilling is a necessary “stop gap”.

              So, no, I don’t see a conspiracy.

      2. Both for liability reasons and political reasons. If you “show up” a congressperson or a president there is a chance they will be even more vindictive and in the hostile climate after an accident like this, could pass some really nasty regulations or (try to) make you pay for things that you are not really responsible for. Then you have to fight to say the law is ex-post facto, etc.

        This is what people don’t understand about the big government model. It brings EVERYTHING into the realm of politics. And then it’s who you know and whose ass you kiss (the power of pull) that is important.

  15. A giant Taiwanese oil skimming ship, The A Whale, is only now working on the spill. It can process 500,000 barrels of oily seawater per day,

    how long until greenpeace accuses them of processing oil sea turtles?

  16. What tiresome crap this ding dong puts out. Is he the guy in the cowboy hat behind Obama or does he only wish he was?

    All this political noise for the last 10 years is really getting irritating. Morons on the right yelling a script to morons on the left reading back their script.

    A good idea would to take all of them and all of the “Media” who print them and drown them in the gulf. Works for me.

    1. “A good idea would to take all of them and all of the “Media” who print them and drown them in the gulf. Works for me.”

      I believe that the “junk shot” has already been unsuccessfuly attempted.

  17. “Yet lurking in the mess are the extreme environmentalists staffing the Obama Administration with their declared agenda of shutting down all offshore oil drilling.”

    Presumably these are the people who always whine about dependence on foreign oil and consider “energy independence” the holy of holies?

    1. No… these are the same people who think GREEN “”energy independence” the holy of holies”.

  18. Obama seems to be taking his advice on energy policy from Hugo Chavez, whose oil fields are grinding to a halt as all the skilled workers left for Canada.

    1. Obama seems to be taking his advice on energy policy from Hugo Chavez

      There, that seems more accurate.

  19. bp has tried to stop the flow of oil from the well.

    The government has stopped spill control efforts, threatened to arrest individuals who are actually working to protect the gulf coast from the spill and hindered spill cleanup in many ways large and small.

    On the plus side they have had lots of meetings.

    Here is one page of a 37 page document that describes the ongoing process to get government approval to use berms to protect marshes.

    This is one small example of why the response to the spill has been a government caused failure and environmental disaster.


    Permit Chronology

    11 MAY ?USACE coordinated pre-application teleconference with state and federal agencies
    11 MAY ?State submitted emergency permit request for Barrier Concept to USACE
    12-14 MAY ?Interagency application review meeting held by USACE; Agency comments on Barrier Concept submitted to USACE and forwarded to State
    14 MAY ?Revised Barrier Concept and responses to agency comments submitted to USACE by the State
    15-17 MAY ?Revised Barrier Concept submitted to agencies for comments; Interagency application review meeting held by USACE on revised Barrier Concept; Agency comments on Revised Barrier Concept submitted to USACE and forwarded to State
    17 MAY ?Agency recommendations on special conditions for NOD-20 permit forwarded to USACE
    18-21 MAY ?Completed initial EA; Completed engineering analysis; Discussed engineering analysis results with State and forwarded additional comments to the State.
    22-24 MAY -Revised initial EA based on engineering analysis results; received State’s comments on engineering analysis results
    24 MAY ?Forwarded State’s comments, final revised concept, and draft permit (with special conditions) to Agencies (NIC Interagency Solutions Group) for final comments
    27 May ?USACE receives Environmental Protection Agency comments on modified permit
    27 May ?USACE proffers emergency permit to state
    1 June ?NIC Barrier Island Berm Meeting

  20. I see there were various “comments” solicited. What were the comments? The chronology means very little in the absence of such content.

  21. But where is the dutch oil skimmers version of the picture of the school buses under water?

  22. RC Dean, there’s certainly an argument that Washington’s response has hindered the clean up efforts. But to say that hindering the clean up efforts are “causing greater damage than the event itself”?

    But you note that I assume the spill, and ask whether Washington’s involvement has made things better or worse. It makes no sense to ask whether we would have been better off with or without a spill, but I think there’s something to be learned from asking whether Washington sticking its snout in has been beneficial or harmful.

    Others have noted some instances above.

    Let’s not forget OSHA swanning in with busloads of inspectors to make the cleanup workers put on hazmat suits and take 40 minute breaks every hour, cutting the effective workforce by 2/3.

    1. And then when they overheat in the suits and feel sick, they assume it’s due to the effects of “chemicals” and join a class action suit.

    2. I guess the libertarian solution would be to fly in third-world children and illegals. And if they die or contract disabling medical conditions – just dump the bodies in the sea and get some more.

      1. After all, profit comes before human life!

    3. Hey now, OSHA’s good people. Who else said “fuck off” to the anti-smoking nazis? Much like the ACLU, they have their flaws, but at least they pretty consistently stick to their principles. Ideological consistency’s gettin mighty rare these days.

  23. All of you seem to forget that Kevin Costner is here to save the day.

    Fuck skimmers, the government, and BP. It’s all about Costner.

    1. Build it and they will come….

  24. Lamar,

    Go look at the link for 36 pages of gory detail. I did not want to clutter up the comment thread with all of it.

    If you accidentally start a fire that causes damages you have civil and potentially criminal liability for the damage

    If the government puts up roadblocks that keep the fire trucks from getting to the fire and putting it out they should have civil and criminal liability also.

    In a just world they would. Here in the US the government has a neat little get out of jail card called sovereign immunity.

    1. Duracomm: I had tried, but my browser only let me look at the first 12 pages before crashing. I have no problem with the idea that government mucks up the efforts of BP, but I would also be interested to know if some of the “comments” maybe had some validity?

  25. All you who voted for Obama, raise your hands …

    because the wildlife being destroyed on the Gulf Coast in part by the incompetence of the Obama administration want to personally thank each and every one of you.

    Morons.

  26. I’m pretty sure that most people who voted for Obama would have been against drilling in the Gulf, so maybe they should put their hands sideways?

    1. I’m waiting for someone to suggest Obama has his hand at a 45 degree angle wearing a stylish brown outfit.

      1. Obama’s goin down!

        Sister Sarah is a-comin riding her “mama grizzlies” to pick up the valorous soldiers of the chosen people who have died fighting the horrible monsters from the liberals.

        Pray for us as we battle the dead hand of government seizure of all that is good and holy. From the poor downtrodden children of the glorious “Founders!”

  27. –I’m pretty sure that most people who voted for Obama would have been against drilling in the Gulf, so maybe they should put their hands sideways–

    Yay for indecision!!

  28. Environmentalists want the max disaster possible.Capping the spill and a rapid cleanup. barriers, skimmers are not in their interest.Exxon Valdez was a great event for them,this looks even better.Now they will get to write more rules and regulations to bring the country to a halt.To them prosperity is the disaster looming which must be stopped.

    1. This assumes that the goal of “environmentalists” is to “write more rules and regulations to bring the country to a halt” rather than protecting the environment. The idea that environmentalists want to stop prosperity is ridiculous on its face given that prosperous societies do a much better job protecting the environment than poor societies.

      Many groups that do stupid shit under the name “environmentalism” are no more environmentalists than the republican party is libertarian.

  29. Shouldn’t that be:

    Sit! Down! Stay!
    Good Government, Good Government.
    Here’s a vote.

  30. It would be similar to shutting down all airlines after a single crash

    Wrong. There are far more flights and oil well drillings, and you have to be proportionate. One well blowing out of a few thousand is more like 30 planes crashing every day. If that were to happen, you can be sure as hell the industry would be shut down. Of course, in that case, no one would fly anyway.

    The odds of failure, the costs of failure, and the distribution of those costs are dramatically different in these two cases. You can’t really compare them.

    1. Those numbers you just spewed out smell like ass. Which makes sense, since that’s probably where you pulled them from.

      As of 2006, there were almost 4,000 platforms and rigs in the gulf. As of 1996 there were 6,158 commercial jets licensed in the U.S. Even if growth maintained it’s pace in the 90’s (and it probably didn’t) there would be only about 8,000 commercial jets in the U.S.

      So yes, it would be very similar to shutting down all commercial airlines after a crash. Or in this case, two crashes. And that every day crap is just as nonsensical as the rest of your data.

      Therefore, the question is: Would Obama be justified in shutting down all U.S. Airlines after two crashes? You know damn well he wouldn’t.

  31. “In America it has been smaller companies which have led technological discoveries, such as the horizontal fracking which has now made natural gas abundant.”

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always done my fracking horizontally.

  32. Here is another example of how the obama administration has hindered response to the oil spill.

    How an Alabama fire chief risked jail to save town from Gulf oil spill

    Yet if the Gulf oil spill arrives here this week as scientists have forecast, it will not find the town unprepared. A flotilla of nine spud barges ? flanked by containment boom ? will be waiting, ready to block the 530-foot-wide entrance to Weeks Bay.

    If all goes according to plan, these rusted steel behemoths will form an impenetrable barrier, defending the estuary’s 19 federally-protected species and the vital marshland which serves as a nursery for shrimp and other seafood so crucial to the Gulf Coast region.

    Hinton and Mayor Charles Houser conferred.

    If the small-town fire chief blocked the bay without permission, he could be jailed or fined, but he was willing to take that chance.

  33. Well, what did you expect after America elected an INEXPERIENCED jackass?

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  35. What we call criminal negligence BP calls “saving money”

    1. Hate potion, BP stood to make billions from this well, they would NOT skimp a few million and risk disaster. Gov’t regulators as much as forced BP’s contractors to go ahead regardless what had gone wrong.

      Your idiotic comments here are outside discussion. Troll or fool, it’s all the same.

      1. They did, in fact, skimp. They could have installed a safety system which would have prevented this very catastrophe for $500,000. This has been pretty much everywhere except ReasonOnline.

        1. One factor that goes into calculations of future profits is risk. Elected officials of BOTH political parties routinely pass laws that interfere with the accurate assessment of risk. Thus they limited liability for economic damages to 75 million in gulf oil exploration, they pushed home ownership without regard to credit scores, and they instituted an asinine federal flood insurance program because private insurers would not insure homes below sea level at a “fair” price. Most of these laws are to protect the “little” guy or the small oil drillers and they are to prevent “excess” profit except when they are to try to get a particular state to get more revenue when they want to push their “own” profit. You made your bed, now lie in it douche-bag.

  36. “? We have learned that the oil could have been skimmed early on so that very little?if any?would have reached shore.”

    Actually, we didn’t learn this. We learned that more and larger skimmers could have been out there earlier. It’s a a huge jump in reasoning to say that little would have reached shore if those skimmers had been in action earlier, especially given that oil is being entrained at depth.

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