UNBELIEVABLE! How’s this for HOPE AND CHANGE?
Tar blobs began washing up on Florida’s white sand beaches near Pensacola this past weekend. Crude oil has already been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi, and has impacted about 125 miles of Louisiana coastline.
It didn’t have to be this way.
There are miles of floating oil containment boom in warehouse right now and the manufacturer Packgen says it can make lots more on short notice.
There’s just one problem… No one will come get it.
Maine Governor Baldacci visits Packgen to see the manufacturing of Oil Containment Booms, as well as lend his support to the people of Packgen and the Gulf Coast.
John Lapoint of Packgen in Auburn, Maine, says he’s got plenty of floating oil containment boom and can make lots more on short notice. There’s just one problem: no one will buy it from him.
He’s already had a representative from BP visit his factory and inspect his product. The governor of Maine, John Baldacci, visited the facility and made a video plea to no one in particular to close the deal. Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins wrote a letter on May 21 to the secretary of the Interior, the administrator of NOAA, and the commandant of the Coast Guard to alert them to the existence of Packgen, their supply of boom, and their demonstrated capacity to make more. I have no idea if those are the correct persons and agencies to notify about the manufacturing capacity and the availability of boom. One wonders if the senators know.
While it is not easy to clean up an ocean oil spill, it is not a complicated procedure. In the open ocean, chemicals can be sprayed on slicks to try to disperse them. For the most part, oil floats, so it can sometimes be ignited and burned to lessen the amount that might reach a more sensitive area than the middle of an ocean. Out in open water, you can use booms (temporary floating barriers), but the wind and wave action makes it pretty difficult to place them and keep them there. When you get in closer to shore, where the oil is likely to do the most damage but the water is generally calmer, the best way to deal with it is to place flexible booms in the water, against which the oil will collect, and then run skimmers, a sort of pump that vacuums up and separates the oil from the water. Then you mop up what makes it to the shore as best you can.
…Oil collected against a boom is fairly easy to process and recycle. Sorbent booms, designed to collect oil at the water’s edge, are made from materials that absorb oil but not water — unlike hair. Oil full of hair or straw lapping against a shoreline is a HazMat nightmare. And sorbent boom is not in short supply anyway.
…Packgen’s main business is not making oil boom. They make specialty packaging materials for shipping and storing environmentally sensitive materials. But when Packgen’s president, John Lapoint, saw the BP oil spill in the news, he understood right away that to have any hope of containing the oil drifting towards the shoreline, lots of floating boom would be necessary.
It didn’t have to be this way. Our southern shores could have been spared.
If Barack Obama really wants to find some ass to kick. It may be his own.
Is anyone else reminded of this photo?
UPDATE: Allahpundit added:
Remember, Jindal was demanding millions of feet of boom just a week or so after the rig exploded and, as of May 24, was still millions of feet short.
It didn’t have to be this way.