The Obama Administration has tirelessly pushed the line that it has employed every available tool to fight the Gulf oil spill from “Day One.” Well, it’s certainly true that every media resource is being deployed to squelch comparisons with the slow-footed 2005 Bush administration response to Hurricane Katrina.
But as for having actual oil-spill fighting technology on hand before the crisis, as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires, the administration was clearly caught unprepared.
After the Transocean rig blew up two weeks ago, it turns out the federal government didn’t have a single fire boom on hand in the Gulf to enable a controlled burn of the oil slick, according to The Press-Register of Mobile, Alabama. Instead, the government quickly purchased the only fire boom that an Illinois-based manufacturer had in stock, and then asked the company to call its customers around the world to see if the U.S. government could borrow their booms.
Ever since 1989 Exxon Valdez tragedy, the federal government has been required by law to keep spill-fighting equipment in place for an emergency. Ron Gouguet, who once led such efforts for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Press-Register that a quick controlled burn might have captured 95% of the oil spilling from the offshore well. In the event, it took federal officials eight days to conduct the first test burn of the leaking oil. By then, strong winds and rough seas inhibited its effectiveness.
The rest here.
But, let me write again, if the oil equipment wasn’t there for Team Obama, it probably wasn’t there for Teams Bush and Clinton. And I’m still not sure why someone in Louisiana’s bureaucracy isn’t the one responsible to make sure this equipment is where it’s supposed to be.