Obama’s inaction and the hidden scandal over the oil spill

Listening to Mark Levin’s radio show, he read an article that explains why this administration could have acted and substantively mitigated the oil spill from becoming a crisis, and what it is now – an oil spill the size of puerto rico:

If U.S. officials had followed up on a 1994 response plan for a major Gulf oil spill, it is possible that the spill could have been kept under control and far from land.

The problem: The federal government did not have a single fire boom on hand.

The “In-Situ Burn” plan produced by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms.

But in order to conduct a successful test burn eight days after the Deepwater Horizon well began releasing massive amounts of oil into the Gulf, officials had to purchase one from a company in Illinois.

When federal officials called, Elastec/American Marine, shipped the only boom it had in stock, Jeff Bohleber, chief financial officer for Elastec, said today.

At federal officials’ behest, the company began calling customers in other countries and asking if the U.S. government could borrow their fire booms for a few days, he said.

A single fire boom being towed by two boats can burn up to 1,800 barrels of oil an hour, Bohleber said. That translates to 75,000 gallons an hour, raising the possibility that the spill could have been contained at the accident scene 100 miles from shore.

“They said this was the tool of last resort. No, this is absolutely the asset of first use. Get in there and start burning oil before the spill gets out of hand,” Bohleber said. “If they had six or seven of these systems in place when this happened and got out there and started burning, it would have significantly lessened the amount of oil that got loose.”

In the days after the rig sank, U.S Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said the government had all the assets it needed. She did not discuss why officials waited more than a week to conduct a test burn.

At the time, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oil spill response coordinator Ron Gouguet — who helped craft the 1994 plan — told the Press-Register that officials had pre-approval for burning. “The whole reason the plan was created was so we could pull the trigger right away.”

Gouguet speculated that burning could have captured 95 percent of the oil as it spilled from the well.

Bohleber said that his company was bringing several fire booms from South America, and he believed the National Response Center discovered that it had one in storage.

Now if you remember back when the oil spill happened, the waves were at a workable level and if the government had these fire booms, as their emergency plan had specified, this whole oil spill could have been managed in such a way that it wouldn’t have become a threat to land. So the question has now become: why didn’t the government have what it needed and when did they know about it. There’s been nothing mentioned about this in the media, and thanks to Mark Levin we are now ahead of the curve.

I’d also like to note that an (expert) caller made the point that even if they didn’t have the fire booms, they could have used naval ships to keep the oil in a specific area and pumped it out of the ocean. As always, there’s more than one way to ‘skin a cat’ but it requires a competent administration to make use of its resources properly.

And now to the hypocrisy. I really do hate to throw the Bush comparison out there, but seriously, if Bush were president right now, this would be all over the 24-hour news cycle and every journalist from every big and little news org would be digging for the truth. We’d see eco-protests with bush/hitler signs and calls for his impeachment. And let’s not forget PETA, who would probably be bringing dead sea animals to the white house in protest.

This is a big scandal, as Levin noted, as it’s the first real problem this President has had to deal with, and so far he and his administration is not measuring up well at all. Welcome to hope and change.

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