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Passions in Poetry

What Obama Admin SHOULD have Done in Gulf Oil Crisis

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Denise
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175 posted 07-02-2010 10:05 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
A report prepared by investigators with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., detailed one case in which the Dutch government offered April 30 to provide four oil skimmers that collectively could process more than 6 million gallons of oily water a day. It took seven weeks for the U.S. to approve the offer.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Thursday scorned the idea that "somehow it took the command 70 days to accept international help."

"That is a myth," he declared, "that has been debunked literally hundreds of times."
He said 24 foreign vessels were operating in the Gulf before this week. He did not specifically address the Dutch vessels.

Billy Nungesser, president of Louisiana's hard-hit Plaquemines Parish, said BP and the Coast Guard provided a map of the exact locations of 140 skimmers that were supposedly cleaning up the oil. But he said that after he repeatedly asked to be flown over the area so he could see them at work, officials told him only 31 skimmers were on the job.

"I'm trying to work with these guys," he said. "But everything they're giving me is a wish list, not what's actually out there."

A BP spokesman declined to comment.

Newly retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the response effort, bristled at some of the accusations in Issa's report.

"I think we've been pretty transparent throughout this," Allen said at the White House. He disputed any suggestion that there aren't enough skimmers being put on the water, saying the spill area is so big that there are bound to be areas with no vessels.

The Coast Guard said there are roughly 550 skimmers working in the Gulf, with 250 or so in Louisiana waters, 136 in Florida, 87 in Alabama and 76 in Mississippi, although stormy weather in recent days has kept the many of the vessels from working.

The frustration extends to the volunteers who have offered to clean beaches and wetlands. More than 20,000 volunteers have signed up to help in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, yet fewer than one in six has received an assignment or the training required to take part in some chores, according to BP.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100702/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill


There doesn't even seem to be a consensus about how many skimmers are out there, whether forgein or domestic, how long they've been out there, etc. There seems to be too much bureaucratic red tape holding things up and slowing things down. It's the President's job to cut through the red tape and allow whatever is needed to be done to be done in a timely fashion, and to have the Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers and the local governments working together instead of at cross-purposes.
JenniferMaxwell
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176 posted 07-02-2010 11:20 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Wow, I’m really impressed - “The Coast Guard said there are roughly 550 skimmers working in the Gulf, with 250 or so in Louisiana waters, 136 in Florida, 87 in Alabama and 76 in Mississippi, although stormy weather in recent days has kept the many of the vessels from working.”
Sounds to me like Obama’s doing a pretty good job.

“The Dutch offer, like most offers of foreign assistance, was to sell supplies, State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters. "And in determining whether to accept these offers, we look at the availability of domestic sources and also compare pricing on the open market. So that may be one of the reasons why, in some cases, we've been able to accept these offers and pursued them," he said.”

So, re the Dutch offer, it wasn’t really an offer of “help”, but rather an offer to sell supplies.


Denise
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177 posted 07-02-2010 12:12 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
Billy Nungesser, president of Louisiana's hard-hit Plaquemines Parish, said BP and the Coast Guard provided a map of the exact locations of 140 skimmers that were supposedly cleaning up the oil. But he said that after he repeatedly asked to be flown over the area so he could see them at work, officials told him only 31 skimmers were on the job.


250, 140, 31, Who really knows for sure? I had heard that all fly-overs have been restricted. No one can even get an aerial view to see just how many are actually out there. You just have to take the word of BP, who isn't commenting, the Coast Guard, who give differing counts, or politicians.

Using the highest count given by the Coast Guard, it apparently isn't enough, and it would be to the benefit of those affected that the maximum be put into use asap by cutting through the bureaucratic red tape, including the other 1600 US vessles that could be pulled into service on a short term basis.
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178 posted 07-02-2010 12:50 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

“Yet even though 1600 skimmers are available across the country, as Sen. George LeMieux (R.-Fla) pointed out on the Senate floor last week, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 demands that regions must maintain minimum levels of that kind of equipment at all times, meaning not all resources can be directed to the Gulf.

Allen has said the administration is working to remove that hurdle, as well as grant waivers if needed for the Jones law.”
http://www.n ydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/29/2010-06-29_bp_oil_spill_cleanup_blocked_by_red_tape_bureaucracy_as_companies_offering_aid_a.html#ixzz0sXo2nzYf

Sort of takes us back to Ron’s question in #162:
"I didn't know the President could "waive" legislation that has been passed by Congress. Does he have the power to "waive" any legislation he wants?

Denise
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179 posted 07-02-2010 02:20 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

If he can't then he could ask Congress to pass a temporary emergency exemption to allow the relocation of some or most of the equipment to the Gulf temporarily. There have to be protocols and procedures for national emergency situations I would imagine.
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180 posted 07-02-2010 02:26 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Maybe that's what Allen meant when he said:

"Allen has said the administration is working to remove that hurdle"
Denise
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181 posted 07-02-2010 03:10 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yep, I'm sure that's what he meant. Just should have been started a lot sooner than Day 70 + and counting.
Bob K
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182 posted 07-02-2010 05:38 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Denise, this is one oil spill.  It is horrible.  The President has been trying to limit drilling for the other 50 or so ongoing drilling projects that the various oil companies are suing to be able to continue while this goes on.

     I do not mean the thousands of producing oil rigs out there now.  I mean the new rigs whose safety plans are identical with the failed plan that is now hurting the gulf so badly.    I mean word for word, in many cases, identical, if you followed the testimony of the oil executives in front of congress.  

     That means that they would demand the use of the same resources that are now overstretched and failing to keep up with the current spill.  That means that they are essentially operating with the same failed degree of oversight as the current oil spill.

     All the resources we can currently throw at the spill are not enough to make up for that failure.  Adding more will not at this point be a significant help; what will be, in my opinion, is shutting off the oil.

     What would also help is stopping the current drilling and doing serious safety inspections on the drilling platforms to prevent or at least lower the likelihood of another blow-out before restarting.

     I'd rather we didn't restart, actually, but put our attention into renewables and actually charged what the market cost of the oil really is, including the real cost of the clean-up instead of pretending that oil is cheap.

     Oil is very very expensive, and we probably can't afford to use it for fuel any more, if we really charge the actual market price.  Including the wars we fight over it and the cost of clean-up and the cost of the diseases and the treatments of the diseases secondary to the use of hydrocarbons as fuel.

     It's like when you ask some folks about the cost of kids and they tell you that all it takes is love.

     Then they neglect to mention doctor's bills and education and food and clothing and transportation and everything else under the sun.

     BP isn't even manning the booms that they have deployed, and they're making up the real cleanup plan as they go.  I can and do fault the current administration for allowing deep water drilling at all.  I can and do fault prior administrations for turning over the regulatory system to the oil folks, and I fault the Republicans for not having insisted on meaningful regulation and for trimming back regulation on industry overall.

     The sad thing for me is that this will probably not be enough to force meaningful regulation of the oil industry, just as the economic collapse of the last several years has not been enough to force meaningful oversight of the financial industry.  We are setting up the next round of this stuff through the Republican efforts to sabotage regulation in Congress even as we banter back and forth here.  I can see more of the same starting to roll in.
      
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183 posted 07-03-2010 09:51 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I don't know, Bob. I'd go along with the consensus of Jindal, the rig workers, the federal judge, and even the Obama administration's own hand-picked scientific experts that a 6 month moratorium is not the way to go.

We need oil and gas, and we need domestic oil and gas. Wind, solar and even nuclear power won't fill up our gas tanks.
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184 posted 07-03-2010 03:18 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
We need oil and gas, and we need domestic oil and gas.


What do you mean by ‘domestic’ Denise?

.
Denise
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185 posted 07-03-2010 04:56 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Domestic:

-of or pertaining to one's own or a particular country as apart from other countries: domestic trade.

-indigenous to or produced or made within one's own country; not foreign; native: domestic goods.
Denise
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186 posted 07-03-2010 05:19 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Just what we need at this time, another 33% of our refining capacity taken off line. This administration's timing couldn't get any worse. Just when you think you've seen the most outrageous, they prove you wrong.
http://www.newpatriotjournal.com/Articles/EPA_Takes_33_of_US_Refining_Capacity_Offline
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187 posted 07-03-2010 05:23 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Do you mean oil and gas owned by America Denise? Are you advocating a national oil and gas company run by the government?

I only ask because currently oil and gas extracted in America isn’t owned by America, it’s owned by the foreign countries, companies and individuals that extract it.

Americans have to buy the oil extracted just like everyone else.

Looked at in that light ‘domestic’ oil and gas is a bit of a misnomer.

.
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188 posted 07-03-2010 05:45 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Just what we need at this time, another 33% of our refining capacity taken off line. This administration's timing couldn't get any worse. Just when you think you've seen the most outrageous, they prove you wrong.


It would be outrageous Denise, if it was true.

Fortunately it isn’t.

.
Bob K
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189 posted 07-03-2010 05:47 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Denise, The oil and gas extracted offshore belongs to BP, not the United States.  We do not own it.  It doesn't even have to be sold here.  The same with the Alaskan oil.  Republicans act as though simply because it's on American land that it will go to the United States.

     Oh, no.  It goes on the international market, where anybody may buy it at the market price.  It does not and will not go to fuel American industry of heat American homes, any more than oil from the Gulf of Mexico will.  We are having to deal with the disaster, but we do not reap much of the benefit beyond the volatile job market.

     If husbanded, fishing will replenish itself.  We have no reason to believe that oil will do so.  Yet we have been bamboozled into trading fishing for oil, long term for short term gain.  Teach a man to fish. . . as the saying goes.  

     Teach a man to look for oil, and he'll put himself out of a job, strangle his children, turn his money over to people who hold him in contempt,  then kill the fish to boot.  Is that what you'd call conservative self reliance?

     Not the conservatives that I grew up listening to.  I may not have agreed with them about everything they said, or even about much,  but at least some of them had some values I could admire.
Denise
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190 posted 07-03-2010 06:25 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
The EPA's decision, announced in a statement, will force some 125 refineries and petrochemical plants to invest millions of dollars to get new permits. Many of the plants may also have to invest in updates to comply with federal regulations.

Armendariz said the proposed rules were in the first stage of a lengthy approval process that could take months or even years.


You mean the EPA didn't just issue this decision? Great. We don't need more oil riggers and supportive industries joining the ranks of the unemployed.

The last thing we need is another industry owned by the U.S. government, guys.

Of course the money goes to the companies and shareholders who are doing the investing. It could be U.S. companies, foreign companies or a combination of both.

You could also look at it from the perspective of the jobs for Americans from oil and gas exploration, refining and distribution, here, Grinch.

If we have it here in our own country and we can do it safely we should drill for it here in our own country so that we can be less reliant on imports and to strengthen our economy through the jobs it enables. Our resources shouldn't go untapped for those reasons. Maybe that's what the Republicans think, Bob.


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191 posted 07-03-2010 10:25 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Denise, you run the risk of being taken off George Soros' Christmas card list with that kind of rhetoric...walk softly, lady
JenniferMaxwell
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192 posted 07-03-2010 10:41 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

“Just what we need at this time, another 33% of our refining capacity taken off line. This administration's timing couldn't get any worse. Just when you think you've seen the most outrageous, they prove you wrong.”

Wrong indeed. None of the facilities will be required to shut down and it wasn’t the Obama administration calling all the shots on this one:


TEXAS CITY — The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday rejected the air quality permits for 122 industrial facilities in Texas, including the BP and Valero refineries in Texas City.

The pulling of the flexible air permits that are issued by the state under EPA’s authority means the facilities do not have legal operating permits.

EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz said none of the facilities will be required to shut down but all will be required to obtain new permits under stricter guidelines.
http://galvestondailynews.com/story/160182

Texas has been issuing the permits since 1994 even though it never received the required federal approval. The EPA made clear at least five years ago it believed the permits violated federal air laws, warning Texas and the refinery and petrochemical industry it would take action. The industry, uncomfortable with the uncertainty, sued the EPA in 2008, demanding the agency take action on this and several other programs that remained in limbo.
The EPA was under a court-ordered deadline of June 30 to either approve or disapprove the flexible permit program. On Wednesday, a federal court rejected a last minute appeal by the industry to extend the deadline. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/30/epa- scraps-texas-clean-ai_n_631619.html?page=3&show_comment_id=52204114#comment_52204114

Seems to me the polluters had more than five years, ever since the Bush administration, to clean up their act but didn’t, they chose profits over clean air.


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193 posted 07-03-2010 11:14 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he's "angry and frustrated" about the BP oil spill and that he is committing his administration to tougher regulation of the industry and a six-month suspension of exploratory drilling at 33 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

His administration also announced the resignation of the director of the troubled Minerals Management Service, Elizabeth Birnbaum, a Harvard-educated lawyer, who some administration officials said was pushed out of the job.

Asked about her departure, Obama said he didn't know specifics, but noted "there wasn't sufficient urgency in terms of the pace" of needed changes at the agency, which he says has been lax in its regulation of the oil and gas industry.

The suspension of exploratory drilling in Gulf waters 500 feet deep and beyond will put them out of operation while a new White House commission investigates ways to improve safety in deepwater operations, Obama said.

The affected rigs include floating deepwater facilities operated by Shell, Chevron and Hess, among other companies.

Chris John, president of the Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, said a temporary shutdown of well operations could put people out of work, and will affect offshore marine service companies, catering companies and Louisiana-based suppliers.

Given that all 33 rigs recently passed inspections, John suggested that the moratorium is unnecessary.
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/president_barack_obama_suspend.html

President Barack Obama, under pressure to step up response to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, on Thursday vowed tougher regulations for the oil industry and said he is suspending action on 33 exploratory drilling operations in the Gulf and canceling or temporarily suspending pending lease sales and drilling in Virginia and the Arctic.
Mr. Obama also said the "oil industry's cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship" with federal regulators underscores the need for more oversight. Further, he said although BP PLC is responsible for cleaning up and paying for the disaster, the company is running all decisions by the federal government.
"The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort," Mr. Obama said.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704269204575270031411598538.html


Interesting that Obama made the claim I'm sure he now regrets that his government has been running the show from the beginning. Also, I wonder if he plans on giving back the gigantic political contributions oil (they of the corrupt relationships) blessed him with....not likely.
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194 posted 07-03-2010 11:55 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Isn’t Obama risking losing future contributions from big oil by wanting to shut down drilling? Looks to me like he’s more concerned with trying to prevent future accidents than he is about bowing to the wishes of big oil for campaign contributions.

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195 posted 07-04-2010 12:21 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

That could be true if one believed what is said to newspapers for show is the same thing Obama says to the oil companies away from the microphones. Obama's back room deals are becoming legendary and I don't picture him doing anything self-sacrificing for the "good of the country".

We'll find out when we see how much they contribute to him next time.
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196 posted 07-04-2010 06:14 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     Given that all 33 passed inspections. . . .  The question is, whose inspections?

     The oil rigs were built in non-U.S. ports and are registered under non-U.S. flags, so the safety and seaworthiness of the platforms are determined in places like The Marshall Islands, whose safety standards they follow.  This does not mean that they are built to the standards that we would necessarily find appropriate for drilling 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana.  Nor does it mean that the safety standards that the drilling rigs are functioning under is any better than the most recent failures of the BP rig.  The six month moratorium, as I understand it, was designed to have these rigs looked at and examined to see if they were functioning up to U.S. Standards for safety.

     Do we have the legal right to insist on that?  

     I really don't know, but then seeing the degree to which BP and the other oil companies have our best interests at heart, caveat emptor more or less demands that we set some limits about the conditions we'll permit.  Had this been something done by another country, we'd be talking about declaring war or demanding punitive damages.

     President Obama, because he is Republican Lite at heart is pussyfooting around and giving the oil cartels more of a chance than they should be given.

     It sounds to me as though the more right wing of our folks here are trying to let BP and the other oil companies off with a pat on the back, a raise and a sincere apology for ruining the southern coast of the United States, meanwhile trying to find ways of blaming President Obama for the wretched way that the oil companies are doing business with us.  I think the oil companies and the Republican Party ought to be embarrassed.  I can't see any sign of it from where I sit.

     Of course this is the party that's trying to blame unions for the oil leak not being cleaned up yet.  Even though nobody's apparently put in for a Jones act waver yet, the notion of trying to cut the throats of a few extra working guys is too appealing for the Republicans to pass up.
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197 posted 07-04-2010 09:09 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"the notion of trying to cut the throats of a few extra working guys is too appealing for the Republicans to pass up."

Ah, Bob, everytime your posts start to get interesting, you toss in something like that and blow your credibility and reason out of the water and even your good points are disregarded.......sad.
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198 posted 07-04-2010 09:27 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
“We are defending our flexible air permitting program because it works,” Bryan Shaw, chairman of the state agency, said. “EPA is not able to demonstrate how our program is less protective of the environment than the bureaucratic federal approach. EPA’s philosophy of more bureaucracy by federalizing state permits will not lead to cleaner air but will drive up energy costs and kill job creation at a time when people can least afford it.”

Valero spokesman Bill Day said the company was disappointed and expressed the frustration about a change in the rules that had appeared to be acceptable for the past 16 years.

“When the flex permit program was rolled out in 1994, EPA and environmental groups applauded it, and EPA approval seemed implicit,” Day said. “Now, 16 years later, EPA is reversing course, and our facilities are caught in the middle, creating significant uncertainty at a time when our economy can least afford it.”


I hope that the plants in Texas won't be shut down during the lenghty and expensive new permitting process (which in itself could stifle job creation and economic growth). But that begs the question, why pull the permits citing below standard emissions controls but then allow them to operate in the meantime if they truly are a hazard to the environment? Maybe it has more to do with exerting federal power over a State and the money it can extract from them than it has to do with clean air.


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199 posted 07-04-2010 10:22 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Denise,

None will shut down.. yet.

As Jen pointed out earlier all they have to do is meet national safety and emissions standards, kinda like the ones that BP were supposed to meet in the gulf but decided not to.

The safety and emission regulations are there for a reason, sure there’s a cost but there’s a bigger one when things go wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster

There’s an old English saying which seems apt – ‘Don’t spoil the ship for a ha'peth of tar’

.
 
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