Patterico's Pontifications


Oil Skimmers and the Dutch

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 1:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Quoting from the Financial Post at the Instapundit:

“Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks. . . .

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico. . . .

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.”

Lousy decision-making and appalling incompetence, but does anyone doubt there might have been a different attitude if the spill had been in California, Hawaii or the Northeast?


30 Responses to “Oil Skimmers and the Dutch”

  1. in California, the locals would have barricaded the ships in the harbor because they would be polluting the ocean with the discharge….

    lefty stupid is lefty stupid, no matter where it occurs.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  2. More confirmation that the White House lies.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  3. Next week, I expect the spin to be the EPA claiming that their refusals did not matter because of the Jones Act, and the White House saying the Jones Act does not matter because of the EPA rule.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. Why can’t the White House keep a lid on stories like this? Ouch!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  5. Why can’t the White House keep a lid on stories like this?

    its all part of a racist campaign by the right wing controlled media to make President Obama look bad.


    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  6. unions have done more damage to America than BP could have done if they had meticulously crafted a plan

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  7. DRJ

    > does anyone doubt there might have been a different attitude if the spill had been in California, Hawaii or the Northeast?

    Actually, I have to completely disagree with that. what is that famous phrase: never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. And to me, incompetence tells the story. Obambi was not ready to be president, period. And environmentalism is ironically harming the environment. This entire debacle, from start to finish was a combination of some slight bad luck, and mostly those other two factors.

    This is not something Obama wanted to happen, nor did it occur out of indifference. This was inexperience and incompetance, as well as red tape, bureaucracy and environmentalist interference. And I don’t believe it would be any different if it was off of states that voted for him. I think he would have been every bit as lead-footed no matter what.

    Call that sort of a backhanded defense.

    Aaron Worthing (A.W.) (f97997)

  8. Aaron,

    I think it is incompetence but also a lack of motivation. If it had been someplace they love, they would have been motivated to overcome their incompetence.


    Why can’t the White House keep a lid on stories like this? Ouch!

    That’s the funny part of this story to me. I think the Financial Post is Canadian, part of or related to the National Post. The G8 and G20 started yesterday and apparently this was published to coincide with President Obama’s arrival, making it clear that he may own the American media but not the Canadians.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  9. It’s amazing how hard it is to keep news like this in the shadows after the Journolist is dissolved.

    Coincidence? I think not!

    I want someone to leak the e-mails where ditzes like Weigel want everyone to report it was Cheney’s moles that are responsible for everything in the Gulf.

    MU789 (959170)

  10. I’m inclined to agree with A.W., that the motives of not offending unions nor EPA regulatiopns would have prevailed no matter where the spill was.

    Of course, we could be wrong. When somebody continues to make decisons that often have no logical explanation, it’s hard to make a logical prediction.

    I wonder how many Europeans now have a lower view of the US than ever.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  11. I agree that it would have made little difference. It could be any one of the 57 states, even those speaking Austrian, and Obama would mull over what would Niebuhr have done ? The only thing that engages Obama seriously is a piece in Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone that is perceived as straying from the party line. The first thing an infant learns is the difference between “self” and “non-self.” Obama is still working on that.

    Mike K (82f374)

  12. Yep, feets. Dig this.

    Matador (5db43f)

  13. Okay, I guess I’m outvoted. Obama would be incompetent no matter what.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  14. Okay, I guess I’m outvoted. Obama would be incompetent no matter what.

    Wrong DRJ. He would have looked brilliant if he had appointed Mitt Romney to handle the leak after the first day.

    MU789 (959170)

  15. mu789 – Actually he would have done better to name George W in charge.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  16. Aaron:

    It’s actually “Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”, a favorite of Richard Feymann and immortalized as “Hanlon’s Razor”.

    Brooks (dcdfec)

  17. Actually Blue, if he had appointed W to handle it he had an excuse ready – Bush Did It!

    But I think Obama doesn’t want to overuse that excuse. 2,000 times a year is the limit before voters might catch on.

    MU789 (959170)

  18. there is a difference between “stuck on stupid” and “forged out of pure stupid”…

    but the end results are similar, with the differential being the orders of magnitude needed to calculate the extent of your needless suffering.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  19. I would have seriously began treating this problem (the oil spill) as an all hands on deck emergency… how hard would it have been to tell every agency to do what it could to help solve the crisis – even going so far as to guarantee presidential pardons to anyone breaking rules such as the Jones Act as long as their efforts didn’t infringe on the rights of our citizens.

    There are numerous out of work college age students/grads… it’s summer… the National Guard/US Military has excellent logistical capabilities… setup young adult tent cities on or near the beaches so that ‘massive’ manpower is readiliy available for cleanup and then pay them via those unspent TARP/stimulus funds. (keep in mind these temporary workers are young citizens unlikely to be forced into work military style – the military only being present for it’s logistical support and camp management abilities)

    There’s been a vacuum of leadership regarding this crisis. Instead this event is being treated as an opportunity.

    GaMongrel (11c057)

  20. TC, I find the “half breed” comment of yours most inappropriate.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  21. As did I… for the second time this morning. TC is now in moderation until Patterico or DRJ decides otherwise.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  22. In case it’s not clear, I put the comment SPQR is referring to into moderation. I put a separate comment from TC on another thread into moderation earlier, probably before anyone else even saw it, for the exact same thing. TC is now permanently moderated until Patterico or DRJ decides otherwise.

    Calling someone a vile, racist epitaph here is going to get you moderated. At least.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  23. Stashiu3, you know you can always delete a comment of mine that references a deleted comment. I’d figure out where it went.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. haiku not hear well
    man say “halfbaked” hear “halfbreed”
    then all hell break loose

    ColonelHaiku (181d1a)

  25. To deny the help offered by the Dutch was a bloody disgrace, and Obama better have a good explanation for it at some point or it’s going to cost him.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  26. There’s little to suggest Obama has even heard of this yet. He’s been doing fabulous things with his pitching wedge lately plus also the World Cup has been very demanding.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  27. Leviticus – How will people hear of it? From the press who is doing such a slam bang job of covering the incompetent jack@ss in the Oval Office?

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  28. obama is by far the most incompetent idiot i have seen in my lifetime that is in a position of power. the stupid treehugger groups that want “pure water” are preventing it from being so. so maybe obama can stop playing basketball with all of his homies

    roflpottamus (2f4213)

  29. and actually do something good for a… “CHANGE”

    roflpottamus (2f4213)

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