Miles of Oil Containment Boom Sits, Waiting for Federal Government to Use

Yoohoooo, Obama.  Since you’re looking for “sombody’s ass to kick”, start with your own.

Hat Tip to Pajamas Media

John Lapoint of Packgen in Auburn, Maine, says he’s got plenty of floating oil containment boom and can make lots more on short notice. There’s just one problem: no one will buy it from him.

He’s already had a representative from BP visit his factory and inspect his product. The governor of Maine, John Baldacci, visited the facility and made a video plea to no one in particular to close the deal. Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins wrote a letter on May 21 to the secretary of the Interior, the administrator of NOAA, and the commandant of the Coast Guard to alert them to the existence of Packgen, their supply of boom, and their demonstrated capacity to make more. I have no idea if those are the correct persons and agencies to notify about the manufacturing capacity and the availability of boom. One wonders if the senators know.

While it is not easy to clean up an ocean oil spill, it is not a complicated procedure. In the open ocean, chemicals can be sprayed on slicks to try to disperse them. For the most part, oil floats, so it can sometimes be ignited and burned to lessen the amount that might reach a more sensitive area than the middle of an ocean. Out in open water, you can use booms (temporary floating barriers), but the wind and wave action makes it pretty difficult to place them and keep them there. When you get in closer to shore, where the oil is likely to do the most damage but the water is generally calmer, the best way to deal with it is to place flexible booms in the water, against which the oil will collect, and then run skimmers, a sort of pump that vacuums up and separates the oil from the water. Then you mop up what makes it to the shore as best you can.

The boom itself is not a hi-tech apparatus. It has to float, so the oil doesn’t go over it, and a portion of it is submerged under the floating part to keep the oil from going underneath it. It has to be fairly sturdy so it can be towed in the water. Containment booms need to be non-absorbent, because if they absorb water or oil they will sink.

……Packgen’s main business is not making oil boom. They make specialty packaging materials for shipping and storing environmentally sensitive materials. But when Packgen’s president, John Lapoint, saw the BP oil spill in the news, he understood right away that to have any hope of containing the oil drifting towards the shoreline, lots of floating boom would be necessary.

……It was a big financial risk — and he knew that — but he also figured that in an emergency of that magnitude, you had to act quickly, and figured that BP and the federal government would have to act quickly as well, and every single foot of boom he could make would be useful and in immediate demand.

He figured wrong.
More here:

John Lapointe took the initiative and invested alot of effort and money to manufacture thousands of oil booms so that some of the necessary equipment would be ready for emergency use.

He assumed that the children in the White House would seize the opportunity to act like adults and take advantage of the materials readily available to contain the oil.

True to form, Obama just “won’t let a good crisis go to waste”.

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