June 12, 2010


The government has decided to wave its magic wand and grunt "Make it so."

The federal government has given BP until the end of the weekend to find ways to speed up efforts to contain huge amounts of oil gushing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a letter released Saturday, as large globs of brown crude coated Alabama's white sand beaches.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. James A. Watson sent a letter to BP officials on Friday expressing frustration with the overall pace of the effort and ordered the company to identify ways to expedite the process in the coming says.

Could it be in connection with this?

The letter and deadline comes just before President Barack Obama is set to visit the Gulf Coast on Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, dithering by BP and the feds continues. If the Coast Guard was serious, they'd be doing more than sending demand letters with a copy to the press.

Auburn, Maine, company Packgen has miles of oil spill containment boom on hand and has the capacity to produce upwards of 100,000 additional feet of boom a day. That inventory and that capacity has been available to help the Gulf Coast states for nearly a month.... [A]ccording to Packgen, boom manufactured in Auburn, Maine, on Monday can be onsite at the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.
Posted by Alan at 01:35 PM

June 09, 2010


Of course: U.S. and BP slow to accept Dutch expertise.

Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help. It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,'” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered. U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge.

At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?

Posted by Alan at 05:12 PM

June 06, 2010



66 years ago today, Allied forces led by the United States of America landed on the beaches in Normandy, France, to retake Europe from the cold grip of Nazi tyranny.

The price of freedom? The American cemetary at Normandy, France holds the remains of 9,387 U.S. soldiers killed. 1, 557 soldiers were declared Missing in Action in the vicinity of the cemetery.

Related: There was no Plan B.

Posted by Alan at 08:53 AM

June 04, 2010


More hope and change:

At a time when investors desperately needed some reassurance that the U.S. recovery remains on track, the May employment report was a sucker punch. Forget the headline 431,000 rise in U.S. payrolls for May, the most in a decade. Some 411,000 were temporary census jobs. Private-sector job growth was a mere 41,000 jobs. That tallies with stubbornly high levels of new unemployment claims in recent weeks.

Only 59% of the U.S. population was employed in May. Compare that with 63% employed in December 2007, before the recession began, and chronically high unemployment is clearly a lasting scar of the recession.

Posted by Alan at 12:08 PM

June 02, 2010

The Gulf, the chasm

Harrison Schmitt, geologist and former astronaut, on the Gulf oil spill crisis: The chasm between Apollo and the Gulf.

“Failure was not an option” for Gene Kranz and his Apollo 13 flight controllers and engineers. In contrast, failure clearly has been an option for President Obama and those claiming to have been on top of this situation “from day one” in his White House and in the Departments of Interior, Energy and Homeland Security. With no single, competent, courageous and knowledgeable leader in charge of a comparably competent, courageous and knowledgeable team as we had with Apollo 13, the Administration has been doomed to failure from the start. [....]

Current information indicates that BP installed a defective blowout preventer and did not have a deep-water, robotically emplaced crimping technique as a backup to the blowout preventer. Essential to the prevention of future accidents will be an objective, complete technical and managerial investigation of why a geological and engineering situation of known risks spun out of control. The primary question is, will such an investigation be possible in the politically charged, adversarial “boot on the neck” atmosphere created by President Obama and his team? Imagine if such an atmosphere had surrounded the [Apollo] 204 fire investigation and recovery.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Alan at 10:10 PM