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I wonder why we are just now hearing about foreign assistance on day 70 of the oil spill?

Permalink 06/30/10 00:29, by OGRE / (Jeff), Categories: Welcome, News, In real life, On the web, History, Politics, Gulf Oil Spill

We are now excepting foreign assistance with the oil spill cleanup! It sure took some time...

I wonder why it took so long? If you are wondering the same as I was; this is a great question and answer session from the Chicago Tribune.

Q: Did the Dutch offer assistance immediately after the Deepwater Horizon exploded?

A: The State Department says the Dutch government and private businesses offered various types of assistance on April 30, 10 days after the explosion. That included proposals to sell equipment as well as offers of technical advice.

Romania, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom made similar offers that same day, according to a summary provided by the State Department. The Netherlands' offer consisted of "state-of-the-art skimming arms made by the Dutch company Koseq," according to a statement issued by the Dutch Embassy. It also involved help to Louisiana in building sand berms intended to keep the oil from washing ashore.

Q: Did the U.S. reject the offer?

A: On May 5, the U.S. State Department issued a statement acknowledging that it had received several offers from countries. "While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet, the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future," the statement said.

The offer of skimmers was accepted on May 23, when BP purchased three Koseq sweeping arms.

As of June 21, the other Dutch offers were considered "under consideration" and the response team had also accepted aid from Mexico, Canada and Norway.

Q: Did the Jones Act prevent the U.S. from immediately accepting the assistance?

A: The administration and Allen say the Jones Act has not prevented the response team from accepting the offers to the help in a timely fashion. In a June 11 press briefing, Allen said "we are more than willing to consider Jones Act waivers" and noted that foreign vessels were being used. A statement issued June 18 said that 15 foreign-flagged vessels were involved in the cleanup and none required Jones Act waivers.

That's in part because of a specific exemption in the act that can allow for the use of foreign "oil spill response vessels," said H. Clayton Cook, a Washington attorney and expert on the Jones Act.

"That takes care of your skimmers and your oil spill vessels," he said.

Cook, a Republican, said there has been longstanding opposition to the act, which many see as protectionist and a bow to unions, but there is no evidence that Jones Act is standing in the way of the cleanup. "This is being used for political purposes. It's a classic red herring."

Q: Why did it take more than three weeks to buy the Dutch skimmers?

A: U.S. officials have not answered this question directly and did not respond to a request. A State Department spokesman has suggested that the nature of the offer and bureaucratic requirements may have something to do with it.

The Dutch offer, like most of offers of foreign assistance, was an offer 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.

Allen also has noted that he was required to do "homework" upfront before accepting the offers. "Has there been an assessment of national inventory, are there any other alternative methods to provide those platforms? Are there issues regarding crewing or anything else?"

Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Ron LaBrec said the decision regarding the Dutch assistance was not made based on environmental regulations.

When Allen refers to "homework" he really means bureaucratic mess. None of this really makes sense. They had to make sure that the Netherlands weren't trying to pull a fast one on us? Come on, is this a joke?

The fact of the matter is that we were not prepared for a spill of any size really. We are also not prepared to accept help.

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1 comment

Comment from: Greg [Visitor]
GregThis article offers a viewpoint on why Obama is behaving the way he is:

Here is a quoted summary:

"If you run a campaign on the argument you are an unprecedented natural-born leader, despite utter inexperience — can you afford to let anyone else outshine you?

"... the ancient personality Barack most resembles is not Jesus, but the Dog in the Manger—a fable by the Greek Aesop. It is the story of moral failure born by incompetence and jealousy."

"An instance of Dog in the Manger assault occurred when the US Coast Guard stopped Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal from running barges with water vacuums sucking up oil. This was another in a list of shutdowns Obama threw at Jindal. He also stopped him from erecting barrier islands to sop up the oil, which supposedly must be vetted for "environmental impact." (analogy: testing a hangman's noose to make sure it doesn't cause excessive rope-burn). Here is a classic example of Barack "Manger Dog" Obama stymieing a real leader from doing something proactive, clever and effective to help his state.

Other examples include Barack refusing aid from thirteen European nations within days after the Gulf oil leak. For instance, the Dutch offered four skimmers that could have taken 20,000 gallons of oil out of the water a day. And the British offered chemical oil dispersant, which Obama refused on the spot. The UK Times reported on this: "Top officials in the British Cabinet offered assistance to help clean up the oil spill a few days after the explosion. The Obama Administration turned them down because they did not have the correct paperwork."
06/30/10 @ 11:14

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