Spreading menace 1

As we’ve said before and will say again, whatever  government does, it does badly.

Which is one of the reasons why the less any government is allowed to do, the better for the country.

Case in point: The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting from the Horizon rig’s explosion and sinking, might have been stopped from spreading if the coast guard had had the equipment that the government had known for years would be needed for just such a contingency.

A good plan was made, but the equipment to carry it out was not obtained.

Read about it here. We quote:

If U.S. officials had followed up on a 1994 response plan for a major Gulf oil spill, it is possible that the spill could have been kept under control and far from land.

Made of flame-retardant fabric, each boom has two pumps that push water through its 500-foot length. Two boats tow the U-shaped boom through an oil slick, gathering up about 75,000 gallons of oil at a time. That oil is dragged away from the larger spill, ignited and burns within an hour …

The problem: The federal government did not have a single fire boom on hand.

The “In-Situ Burn” plan produced by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms.

But in order to conduct a successful test burn eight days after the Deepwater Horizon well began releasing massive amounts of oil into the Gulf, officials had to purchase one from a company in Illinois.

When federal officials called, Elastec/American Marine shipped the only boom it had in stock

At federal officials’ behest, the company began calling customers in other countries and asking if the U.S. government could borrow their fire booms for a few days …

A single fire boom being towed by two boats can burn up to 1,800 barrels of oil an hour …  That translates to 75,000 gallons an hour, raising the possibility that the spill could have been contained at the accident scene 100 miles from shore.

In the days after the rig sank, U.S Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said the government had all the assets it needed. She did not discuss why officials waited more than a week to conduct a test burn.

At the time, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oil spill response coordinator Ron Gouguet — who helped craft the 1994 plan — told the [Alabama] Press-Register that officials had pre-approval for burning. “The whole reason the plan was created was so we could pull the trigger right away.”

Gouguet speculated that burning could have captured 95 percent of the oil as it spilled from the well. …

Meanwhile the oil goes on spreading, and so does the government.

  • snark

    If this was such a practical plan why didn't the oil companies adopt it and have these fire booms onhand? BP knew it was responsible for cleaning up any spill, right?