Sunday, May 23, 2010


Booming failure a glaring indictment of government inaction

by Larry Geller

Possibly the most popular diary this year on DailyKos is about how oil booms are supposed to be used and how BP is not using them. We’ll get to that in a moment. Why is this important? Because the feds are alleged to know how to do it, and they are not causing BP to make it work.

Also, did you catch the report that the EPA forbid BP from using the toxic dispersant but they continue to use it anyway?

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the firm 72 hours to stop using the controversial product. But BP refused, and was still using it yesterday. So far, 715,000 gallons have been pumped on to the slick.   [The Independent (UK), Obama running out of patience as BP misses oil slick deadlines, 5/24/2010]

The amount of oil that BP is sipping through that little straw stuck in the pipe is down to only 1,360 barrels of oil a day. In other words, nothing.

I’ve been waiting for an adequate federal response to the BP oil disaster, but it hasn’t come. Meanwhile, BP gets to try one thing or another seemingly at their leisure.

Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to tar Obama by claiming that the BP disaster is Obama’s Katrina. Guess what—it is. Worse, if you go by his actions (or lack thereof) rather than his speeches, he’s supporting BP by leaving everything to them. This exactly parallels the bank bailout, which saved the profitability and stock value of the bankers by letting them (or their ex-employees) supervise their bailouts.

Where is the evidence that BP is worthy of the trust? They grossly understated the size of the leak. They had no contingency plans. They tried to buy off their liability by getting people to sign papers. They withheld video, reluctantly releasing only a few seconds. And more.

But let’s get to this booming.

I’ve seen some pictures showing the oil booms and thought nothing of them. They look like oil booms. Orange or yellow, covered with oil stains.

Well, according to this diary (Fishgrease: DKos Booming School, 5/10/2010) posted to DailyKos, they are f-----g oil booms, to begin with, to apply the term usually used to describe them (there are worse adjectives in the article). And the article alleges that they are being misused, so they won’t work, and explains how they are supposed to be used.

I have no expertise, and Google hasn’t helped much so far, but the diagram in the article has the appearance of truthiness so that I suspect the author knows what he is talking about. He also wrote that BP doesn’t pay attention in booming class, and that the Coast Guard does know how it should be done, but are not intervening.

If Fishgrease is correct, the booming is being done wrong, and so the oil just goes over or under the booms. And the Coast Guard knows how to do it (see also the extensive comments attached to the article).

So Obama has left to BP both the job of stopping the oil volcano, now running for over a month, and of running the rescue operations, though it isn’t working. Meanwhile, the EPA forbids the use of a dispersant but BP continues to use it, the Coast Guard stands by while oil runs past the improperly set booms, and no one sets up offices on land to assist fishing families in safeguarding their families’ future.

I didn’t even get to the fish and the birds and the bayous, which are being allowed to be destroyed. The oil volcano continues to erupt, threatening not only the Gulf of Mexico, but ultimately any place the oil is carried to. And we, the American people, along with our leaders, do nothing and allow the disaster to continue.

Yes, allow. If the booming article is correct, much more could and should have been done.

Obama got upset in public only weeks after the leak started. He is only now about to send cabinet members to inspect. He seems to be trying to preserve his plan to do more drilling. He will save BP in the process. And yes, this will at least be his Katrina.

This isn't Katrina II, it's worse. As the oil keeps gushing and the damage keeps growing, we are squandering a rare chance to turn the tide against those whose laziness and greed and ignorance is imperiling every living thing on our wonderful and beautiful - and wounded - planet.   [Huffington Post, The Great Shame: America's Pathetic Response to the Gulf Catastrophe , 5/23/2010]



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