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Thread: Why Is the Gulf Cleanup So Slow?

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    Silver Member zillah.'s Avatar
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    Default Why Is the Gulf Cleanup So Slow?



    By PAUL H. RUBIN

    Destin, Fla.

    As the oil spill continues and the cleanup lags, we must begin to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions. There does not seem to be much that anyone can do to stop the spill except dig a relief well, not due until August. But the cleanup is a different story. The press and Internet are full of straightforward suggestions for easy ways of improving the cleanup, but the federal government is resisting these remedies.

    First, the Environmental Protection Agency can relax restrictions on the amount of oil in discharged water, currently limited to 15 parts per million. In normal times, this rule sensibly controls the amount of pollution that can be added to relatively clean ocean water. But this is not a normal time.

    Various skimmers and tankers (some of them very large) are available that could eliminate most of the oil from seawater, discharging the mostly clean water while storing the oil onboard. While this would clean vast amounts of water efficiently, the EPA is unwilling to grant a temporary waiver of its regulations.

    Next, the Obama administration can waive the Jones Act, which restricts foreign ships from operating in U.S. coastal waters. Many foreign countries (such as the Netherlands and Belgium) have ships and technologies that would greatly advance the cleanup. So far, the U.S. has refused to waive the restrictions of this law and allow these ships to participate in the effort.

    The combination of these two regulations is delaying and may even prevent the world's largest skimmer, the Taiwanese owned "A Whale," from deploying. This 10-story high ship can remove almost as much oil in a day as has been removed in total—roughly 500,000 barrels of oily water per day. The tanker is steaming towards the Gulf, hoping it will receive Coast Guard and EPA approval before it arrives.

    In addition, the federal government can free American-based skimmers. Of the 2,000 skimmers in the U.S. (not subject to the Jones Act or other restrictions), only 400 have been sent to the Gulf. Federal barriers have kept the others on stations elsewhere in case of other oil spills, despite the magnitude of the current crisis. The Coast Guard and the EPA issued a joint temporary rule suspending the regulation on June 29—more than 70 days after the spill.

    The Obama administration can also permit more state and local initiatives. The media endlessly report stories of county and state officials applying federal permits to perform various actions, such as building sand berms around the Louisiana coast. In some cases, they were forbidden from acting. In others there have been extensive delays in obtaining permission.

    As the government fails to implement such simple and straightforward remedies, one must ask why.

    One possibility is sheer incompetence. Many critics of the president are fond of pointing out that he had no administrative or executive experience before taking office. But the government is full of competent people, and the military and Coast Guard can accomplish an assigned mission. In any case, several remedies require nothing more than getting out of the way.

    Another possibility is that the administration places a higher priority on interests other than the fate of the Gulf, such as placating organized labor, which vigorously defends the Jones Act.

    Finally there is the most pessimistic explanation—that the oil spill may be viewed as an opportunity, the way White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said back in February 2009, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Many administration supporters are opposed to offshore oil drilling and are already employing the spill as a tool for achieving other goals. The websites of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, for example, all feature the oil spill as an argument for forbidding any further offshore drilling or for any use of fossil fuels at all. None mention the Jones Act.

    To these organizations and perhaps to some in the administration, the oil spill may be a strategic justification in a larger battle. President Obama has already tried to severely limit drilling in the Gulf, using his Oval Office address on June 16 to demand that we "embrace a clean energy future." In the meantime, how about a cleaner Gulf?

    Mr. Rubin, a professor of economics at Emory University, held several senior positions in the federal government in the 1980s. Since 1991 he has spent his summers on the Gulf.

    Paul H. Rubin: Why Is the Gulf Cleanup So Slow? - WSJ.com

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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    It sure seems like because no one gives a fuck.
    I am going to come and burn the fucking house down... but you will blow me first."

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    I'm bothered by media and cameras being banned.

    I'm bothered that a big deal is made that tar balls are washing up on the Texas coast, NOW all gulf states are affected. They were all affected the minute that shit blew and it isn't just the gulf states it's fucking everything, it's all so fucked.
    KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on, let's have lots of drinks.

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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    Wait... we can start cleaning up now and we're not? I assumed the leak would have to be stopped first. This is outrageous!!!!

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    Gold Member Mercer's Avatar
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    * Sauntering out the thread *

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    Well hell, it's hurricane season- time to kick somebody's ass in gear.

    This is the best timeline I've found for the whole spill I Bleed Crimson Red: The Deepwater Horizon Incident Timeline
    Drive a car, drive a boat, drive a plane. What does it matter? As long as I'm drunk!
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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    I could be wrong but isnt BP losing money here? The more oil leaks into the ocean the less there is to sell, so why dont they care?

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    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gas_chick View Post
    It sure seems like because no one gives a fuck.
    This is what I'm getting from media coverage
    Silly bitches, twitchy links are NOT for kids!-Mel

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    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVash View Post
    I could be wrong but isnt BP losing money here? The more oil leaks into the ocean the less there is to sell, so why dont they care?
    Well going by the laws of supply and demand (which the oil co.s apply only when it's beneficial to them of course), the less there is to sell, the higher the price will be.

    These oil CEOs and company heads have so much money and power, and are in bed with so many other people in positions of power who will cut them all sorts of breaks (hello U.S. gov't!) that they obviously don't give a fuck. Not about the waste, the environmental havoc they're wreaking, the hardship that any oil shortage will mean to us little people, all of that is irrelevant to them. We're at their mercy and they know it, and they don't give a fuck about anything but their bottom line.

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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    I wouldn't stop at a BP if I were about to run out of gas running from Michael Myers but it won't hurt them. People have stopped paying attention to what is happening down here. I leave Sunday for Gulf Shores, AL and I'm dreading seeing it in person.
    I am going to come and burn the fucking house down... but you will blow me first."

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    It's shitty. We're already having the tar balls washing up in Galveston and after Ike, Galveston needs all the tourism dollars it can get. Oh well, maybe someone will give a fuck once it hits a little further up the line.
    Kill him.
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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    Yep maybe when it goes up the east coast. Where are the fucking celebs and their telethons on tv?
    I am going to come and burn the fucking house down... but you will blow me first."

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    My daughter was the senior city planner of Fort Walton Beach and I can tell you that the coastal states do not have a real plan for clean up. It seems to me they all want the money.

    Obama demanded a deadline from BP, finally he demanded something. Obama is not the cause of the spill in no way is it his fault but it happened on his watch and I have to get angry with someone. I wanted to boycott BP gas stations but they are American owned and they buy their oil on the open market so they may or may not be using BP. Finally BP answered and said they would have a second well earlier than expected, in a few weeks.

    I am a fan of After the Catch. They said after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 the fishing industry never recovered it is a third of the size of BP's cluster F. Louisiana is the second largest fishery we have in the U.S. and most of it is now shut down.

    They say depression has set in, it's hard to realize your job is gone and watching the animals die a slow death is hard on the kids especially. It's spreading to the west and the east. When it hits the gulf stream it will go up the eastern sea board.

    Our government didn't do much in the beginning because they wanted to believe BP, thats where we get a lot of our oil from, now they want to play nice so BP pays off their debts.

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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gas_chick View Post
    I leave Sunday for Gulf Shores, AL and I'm dreading seeing it in person.
    I'm going to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach next week and I'm scared of what I might see, too.

    I won't be sticking my toes in the water.

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    BP has begun an operation to fit a tighter cap over its blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.
    An underwater robot has taken off the existing dome to make room for the new sealing cap.
    But the operation may last between four and seven days - meaning oil will flow unimpeded into the sea.
    Another system is also being linked up and may start collecting crude on Sunday, BP says. It is drilling two wells to intercept and block the leak.
    It estimates the first of these wells will be finished in the first half of August, enabling the company to intercept the damaged well "and kill operations performed".
    The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April killed 11 people. President Barack Obama has called the leak the biggest environmental disaster in US history.
    Increased potential
    BP's submersible robots are preparing to remove the current containment cap from the ocean floor.
    The new sealing cap - similar to a smaller version of the damaged blow-out preventer - has three devices that are designed to shut the flow, the closing rams, and multiple ports for connecting pipes to collect crude.
    According to BP, the new cap "creates the potential to increase oil and gas containment capacity to greater than 50,000 barrels per day and should improve containment efficiency during hurricane season by allowing shorter disconnect and reconnect times".
    The company said that "there can be no assurance that the sealing cap will be successfully installed or installed within the anticipated timeframe", given it has never been attempted at this depth before.
    It added that contingency caps like the existing one are at the ready on the seabed, should the replacement operation fail.
    The company also said that favourable weather conditions had made it possible to begin another operation in tandem - connecting a new ship to the blow-out preventer.
    Known as the Helix Producer, it will begin collecting oil and sending it to a third ship being used for the purpose.
    BP says this could begin "ramping up containment operations as early as Sunday".
    The containment dome currently collects about half the amount of oil gushing out of the damaged well.
    On Friday, the Coast Guard commander overseeing the response, Adm Thad Allen, said the flow of leaking oil could be shut off by Monday. But in that time hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil could flow unabated into the ocean.
    "We have a significant chance to dramatically reduce the oil that's being released into the environment and maybe shut the well in altogether in the next week," he said.
    "I use the word 'contained'," said Adm Allen. "'Stop' is when we put the plug in down below."
    At the moment it is believed that BP is siphoning off only around half the leaking oil.
    Current US government estimates of the spill range from between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.
    On Thursday BP said its operation to drill a new relief well to stop the Deepwater Horizon leak was ahead of schedule.
    BP's bill so far has been more than $3.1bn - and it has agreed to set up a $20bn fund to deal with compensation claims and clean-up costs.

    __________

    so they are drilling a second hole so they can plug the first hole? well now isn't that just special

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