Theodore's World: Obama 53 Days Later Reconsiders Dutch Offer To Supply Oil Skimmers

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June 17, 2010

Obama 53 Days Later Reconsiders Dutch Offer To Supply Oil Skimmers

'I Will Not Settle for Inaction'

Is Obama really doing everything in his power to fight the spill?

Wall Street Journal

In his nationwide address last night on the Gulf crisis, President Obama declared: "We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes." But at least one congressman isn't convinced, complaining that Mr. Obama won't pursue promising solutions if it means bucking his union allies.

Hawaii GOP Rep. Charles Djou, who won his seat in a special election last month, says he's "disappointed" that Mr. Obama has failed to waive the Jones Act, an antiquated 1920 law mandating that goods shipped between U.S. ports be handled by U.S.-built and -owned ships manned by U.S. crews. Unions fiercely support the law as a means of preserving U.S. jobs. In this case, though, the law might be hindering the recovery of hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs.

Mr. Obama could issue a full waiver of the Jones Act, but failed even to mention the law in his speech last night. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Bush administration didn't hesitate to waive the law completely in an emergency. Congressman Djou says a waiver is essential in spurring the Gulf Coast cleanup. The Houston Chronicle reports that several countries offered to send sophisticated equipment immediately after the spill but were turned down. The Dutch government offered ships fitted with oil-skimming booms three days after the leak began.

Geert Visser, the consul general for the Netherlands in Houston, said the answer from the Obama administration was "Thanks, but no thanks.

"Later, the administration relented, allowing U.S. ships to be outfitted with Dutch skimming booms that can remove 20,000 tons of oil and sludge a day.

"At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?" asks the Chronicle. The paper notes that some offers of help from other countries still haven't been accepted.

The Jones Act may also have played a role in delaying the construction of sand barriers to protect the fragile Louisiana coast. Mr. Visser, the Dutch consul, says American dredging companies, which lack the dike-building expertise of the Dutch, rebuffed Dutch offers of help, which might have meant running afoul of the Jones Act.

For the longer term, Mr. Djou is about to introduce a bill to exempt his home state of Hawaii from the law. Hawaii is hit hardest by the law because most goods arrive by sea. Despite the political power of unions locally, Mr. Djou is pressing forward. He told Malia Zimmerman of the Hawaii Reporter this week:

"If it comes down to fighting for special interest or the people's interest, I will fight for the people's interest." Too bad President Obama won't see things the same way and waive the Jones Act in the current emergency."


U.S. reconsiders Dutch offer to supply oil skimmers

Examiner Tampa Bay

Three days after the Gulf oil rig explosion, the Netherlands offered to send in oil skimmers to pump oil off of the surface of the ocean. The Obama Administration turned them down because they were not 100% efficient and small amounts of oil would be pumped back into the Gulf with the excess water. EPA regulations do not allow for residue water to contain any oil. So rather than use equipment that was not 100% efficient the Obama Administration chose to let all of the oil run into the Gulf. This is not just bad policy, it is criminal.

Since the Obama Administration turned down assistance from The Netherlands at least 125 miles of Louisiana coastline has been ruined by the BP oil spill. Tar blobs began washing up on Florida’s white sand beaches near Pensacola days ago. And, crude oil has also been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi.

The Obama Administration turned down offers to help clean up the spill from The Netherlands and the British Government just days after the explosion. They didn’t accept the British help because they didn’t have the proper paperwork. The administration still has not given the OK to allow emergency workers to use a Maine company’s oil boom even though they were made aware of the warehouse full of containment boom back on May 21.

The U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are large arms that are attached to oil tankers that pump oil and water from the surface of the ocean into the tanker. Water pumped into the tanker will settle to the bottom of the tanker and is then pumped back into the ocean to make room for more oil. Each system will collect 5,000 tons of oil each day.

One ton of oil is about 7.3 barrels. 5,000 tons per day is 36,500 barrels per day. 4 skimmers have a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day. That is much greater than the high end estimate of the leak. The skimmers work best in calm water, which is the usual condition this time of year in the gulf.

These systems were developed by the Dutch as a safety system in case of oil spills from either wells or tankers. The Dutch have off shore oil development and also import oil in tankers. Their economy, just like ours, runs on oil. They understand that the production and use of oil has dangers and they wanted to be ready to cope with problems like spills. The Dutch system has been used successfully in Europe.

The Dutch offered to fly their skimmer arm systems to the Gulf 3 days after the oil spill started. The offer was apparently turned down because EPA regulations do not allow water with oil to be pumped back into the ocean. If all the oily water was retained in the tanker, the capacity of the system would be greatly diminished because most of what is pumped into the tanker is sea water.

As of June 8th, BP reported that they have collected 64,650 barrels of oil in the Gulf. That is only a fraction of the amount of oil spilled from the well. That is less than one day’s rated capacity of the Dutch oil skimmers.

Turning down the Dutch skimmers just shows a total lack of leadership in the oil spill.

This incident with the skimmers just shows the lack of leadership by the President and other government officials. Most people, certainly the local residents, recognized that the government systems to deal with the oil spill were inadequate. It took over 6 weeks for the government to allow the state of Louisiana to build sand berms to protect the marshes, after oil has already entered the marshes. Decisions need to be made, often without full information and sometimes conflicting rules and regulations. The oil well did not stop spilling oil as the government tried to study the problems and make recommendations. There was no one with the authority to make the fast decisions necessary to combat the spill.


Wild Thing's comment........

Obama administration is discussing whether they need to close the barn door now that the horse is out.

What Obama has done is criminal. Sitting on his hands while an entire ecosystem is being destroyed!? Not to mention livelihoods, tourism, etc.

And the Jones Act, a 1920’s era piece of legislation allowing only US flagged vessels to do this work. The POTUS can waive it, but Obama would not because it would upset labor unions.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at June 17, 2010 05:55 AM


Its all about pleasing his Sugar-daddy Unions. In other words he's more concerned with paying back the unions than fixing the oil gusher. He's a first rate schmuck, a world class Asshat.

Posted by: Mark at June 17, 2010 08:16 AM

obama has gotten golf and gulf mixed up. He has attended to golf very well.

Posted by: TomR,armed in Texas at June 17, 2010 10:27 AM

Well we certainly don't want to let that oil onshore wash back out now do we.

Posted by: Jack at June 17, 2010 03:50 PM

I know this is way off the subject but I feel it needs some exposure. Pfc Andy Holmes and four other soldiers from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
have been charged with murder of 3 afghan civilians.. They have been jailed in Ft.lewis Washington. According to family members have been denied Legal council since May 25th .. This has a bad smell and brings back
memories of Haditha..With Eric Holder and Obumbo it will be hard for the
Five to get a fare shake…

Posted by: Gator at June 17, 2010 05:18 PM

Mark, "Sugar-daddy Unions"...good description.

Tom, that was a good one!!!

Jack, exactly.

Gator, thank you for sharing about that. I had not heard about this happening. Your so right about it will be worse with Holder and Obama in control.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 17, 2010 11:27 PM