| US Accepts Help For Oil Spill
, A Dozen Nation to Help
Posted: 02-Jul-2010, 02:56 AM
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Perham, Minnesota
Not sure where you are getting your information Patch.
Oil Spill, Foreign Help and the Jones Act
June 23, 2010
Corrected: July 1, 2010
Q: Did Obama turn down foreign offers of assistance in cleaning up the Gulf oil spill? Did he refuse to waive Jones Act restrictions on foreign-flag vessels?
A: No to both questions. So far, offers from six foreign countries or entities have been accepted and only one offer has been rejected. Fifteen foreign-flag vessels are working on the cleanup, and none required a waiver.
Is it true that Obama blocked foreign help with cleaning up the Gulf oil spill because he refused to waive the Jones Act, which requires all boats to be American made and crewed by Americans to work in U.S. waters, even though it has been routinely waived for similar events?
We’ve received several questions about the federal government’s response to the oil spill. This one claims that a provision of the Merchant Marine Act, called the Jones Act, has prohibited foreign vessels from entering U.S. waters and assisting in the cleanup.
Some critics have charged — falsely — that Obama’s refusal to waive the Jones Act has kept foreign vessels from assisting in cleanup efforts. In a June 23 interview on "Fox & Friends," Republican Rep. Charles Djou of Hawaii was asked by show host Gretchen Carlson about the Jones Act and why the administration was refusing foreign assistance. Djou answered:
Djou, June 23: It’s important that we take help from whomever and wherever they’re willing to offer it. … So why are we not waiving the Jones Act to allow international help to come in? … Why we’re not waiving it here … is baffling.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Republicans, have also claimed that the Jones Act, which was temporarily lifted by President Bush after Hurricane Katrina, is now standing in the way of foreign vessels bringing assistance to the United States. They are both incorrect. Palin stated this in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren:
Palin, June 11: For one, there needs to be a waiving of the Jones Act so that we could have had many, many days ago, weeks ago, some help with skimmers from elsewhere, besides just U.S. flagships, come over and help in this tragedy. And that order needs to be given to [Coast Guard] Admiral [Thad] Allen right now. It’s amazing to me and to so many others that though President Bush had been able to waive Jones Act provisions for Katrina, President Obama hasn’t thought to do that yet? And yet surely, that has been suggested by those experts around him.
In reality, the Jones Act has yet to be an issue in the response efforts. The Deepwater Horizon response team reported in a June 15 press release that there are 15 foreign flagged ships currently participating in the oil spill cleanup. None of them needed a waiver because the Jones Act does not apply. The Jones Act is a trade and commerce law that was enacted in 1920 as part of a larger Marine Merchant Act. It requires all trade delivered between U.S. ports to be carried in U.S. flagged vessels constructed in the United States and owned by American citizens. The law states its purpose is to develop a merchant marine for national defense and commerce.
Why was the Jones Act waived as part of the Hurricane Katrina response, and why hasn’t it been waived now? Katrina inflicted massive infrastructure damage, which restricted the availability of key resources. According to the Deepwater Horizon response team: "A Jones Act waiver was granted during Hurricane Katrina due to the significant disruption in the production and transportation of petroleum and/or refined petroleum products in the region during that emergency and the impact this had on national defense." The Deepwater Horizon spill has yet to affect infrastructure or oil and gas availability; the damage is environmental, and foreign vessels are approved for delivering resources and conducting offshore skimming. Although the Jones Act is currently not applicable, the federal government has taken steps to expedite the waiver process should the oil spill response require a Jones Act waiver for trade and commerce.
Also, contrary to reports such as the one on "Fox & Friends," international assistance has been accepted. To date, 25 countries and four international organizations have offered support in the form of skimming vessels, containment and fire boom, technical assistance and response solutions, among others. A chart provided by the State Department shows that as of June 23 offers from six foreign countries or entities had been accepted. Fifty more offers were under consideration — including multiple offers from a single country or entity. One offer had been declined: France offered a chemical dispersant that is not approved for use in the United States. President Barack Obama described this process in his May 27 press conference:
Obama, May 27: The job of our response team is to say, okay, if 17 countries have offered equipment and help, let’s evaluate what they’ve offered: How fast can it get here? Is it actually going to be redundant, or will it actually add to the overall effort — because in some cases, more may not actually be better. And decisions have been made based on the best information available that says here’s what we need right now. It may be that a week from now or two weeks from now or a month from now the offers from some of those countries might be more effectively utilized.
Each offer must be compliant not only with the needs outlined by the Unified Command, but also with U.S. safety regulations. The Unified Command provided us with this statement and information:
Unified Command, June 22: Those offers of international assistance that were not accepted, while greatly appreciated, did not meet the operational requirements of the Unified Command. These offers have not been declined because they may be needed in the future as response strategies change. Some challenges in accepting these offers included:
* Equipment failed to meet US requirements/specifications (i.e. dispersant not on approved list/containment boom made of non-approved material)
* Contingencies placed on the offers proved logistically impracticable when compared to other sources.
* In one instance, the offering country’s export laws prohibited delivery of the assistance
* Contingencies placed on the offers made it difficult for the Unified Command to meet the contingency
Also, all offers, except for a few, come with a serious price tag. The Associated Press compared these offers with recent aid that the U.S. gave to some of these countries. The AP reported:
Associated Press, June 18: U.S. disaster aid is almost always free of charge; other nations expect the U.S. to pay for help.
"These offers are not typically offers of aid," said Lt. Erik Halvorson, a Coast Guard spokesman. "Normally, they are offers to sell resources to BP or the U.S. government."
Reports claiming that the federal government has refused help are not only incorrect — foreign assistance has been utilized — but are also misleading: purchasing resources and expertise is vastly different from accepting "foreign aid."
Correction, July 1: As of June 23, the U.S. had accepted six offers of assistance from six foreign countries or entities. The original post said five offers were accepted. We have updated the post to include the correct number.
Posted: 02-Jul-2010, 03:12 PM
Fear-leanmhainn an Rìgh
Realm: Cape Coral, Florida, USA, Planet Earth
| Committee staff has discovered the following based upon witness interviews and documents provided by federal and state entities: |
• Officials on the ground dispute key White House assertions about the number and timeliness of assets deployed in the Gulf. Local officials describe White House outreach efforts as more focused on stopping bad press than on addressing the disaster at hand;
• The White House’s assurances that there are adequate resources are at odds with the reality on the ground, where those on the frontline of the spill express significant frustration over the lack of assets. Local complaints are supported by the fact that the White House waited until Day 70 of the oil spill to accept critical offers of international assistance. Local workers and boats could have been assisting more with the clean-up if the Federal government had provided them with needed supplies and equipment;
• While the White House has tried to use the delay in finding a visible leak to explain its early silence on the oil spill, Transocean officials and Coast Guard documents from the scene of the oil spill reveal clear and early indications of a substantial oil leak days earlier than White House accounts;
• The failure of Administration officials to quickly waive laws preventing necessary foreign assets from reaching the Gulf and other regulations are hampering efforts to clean-up and limit damage from the oil spill. Local officials feel the federal government is making the perfect the enemy of the good in cleanup efforts;
• Local officials strongly dispute President Obama’s insistence that the federal government – and not BP – has been in control since day one. One Coast Guard Admiral told congressional investigators that decisions on the ground are made through a “consensus-based” process with BP. In practice, the Federal Government is not in charge of oil spill response efforts through a command-and-control approach;
• Local officials strongly believe the President’s call for a drilling moratorium will significantly compound the economic damage caused by the oil spill and will actually increase risk associated with future offshore drilling projects.
The White House blog details a number of assets deployed in the region to combat the spill. This includes vessels, boom, and dispersant. The number of assets claimed, however, does not appear to match what is actually in the field. Parish officials maintain that the thousands of vessels cited in the blog are non-existent. One senior official refers to them as “phantom assets.” When asked to elaborate, he explained that when he asks the federal government to provide the location of its assets, it either refuses or cannot do so. Daily helicopter search grids performed by the Parish sheriff’s department confirm to him that very few of the assets claimed are deployed.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25
"Non sibi sed patriae!"
Reviresco (I grow strong again)
Clan MacEwen motto
My Ewing Family Motto
(descendants of Baron William Ewing of Glasgow, born about 1630)
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln
"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum." from "Epitoma Rei Militaris," by Vegetius
Posted: 03-Jul-2010, 03:39 PM
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Tangerine, Florida
Taiwan vessel poised to aid oil recovery
But red tape may delay the giant skimmer from starting work because it's not a U.S. ship.
NORFOLK -- Ten stories tall and nearly four football fields long, the world's largest oil skimmer dropped anchor here Friday on its way to the Gulf of Mexico and a likely encounter with the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
Before the floating superstructure can wage war, though, its billionaire owner has a few hurdles to jump, including one key question: Will it even work?
Nobu Su, the CEO and founder of TMT Group, a Taiwanese shipping company, described the engineering behind his latest creation as "totally not common sense and totally against the rules."
Speaking in shirt sleeves and a blue baseball cap on the docks of Norfolk International Terminal, Su was referring to the special holes he had cut into the sides of his behemoth vessel, named A Whale.
As designed, the giant skimmer would roll across the Gulf "like a lawn mower cutting the grass," Su said, ingesting millions of gallons of oily water through the narrow slits.
The tainted water would then fall into huge storage tanks in the belly of the ship. There, oil would separate from sea water naturally. The toxic stuff would be collected and later disposed of, the water returned to the Gulf.
"A large-scale disaster needs a large-scale solution," Su told a crowd of reporters, shipping executives and regulators at the dock.
A Whale could handle 500,000 barrels of oily water per day, or slightly less than what all the skimmers now in the Gulf have gathered in more than 60 days on the job, Su said.
A no-brainer? Not quite.
Because the vessel is Taiwanese and built in South Korea, it needs an exemption from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, a federal law requiring commercial ships doing business in U.S. coastal waters to be American-flagged.
Then there are environmental concerns. Because the ship would discharge water back into the Gulf, albeit after much of the oil had been skimmed away, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must go along with the deal.
Compounding the problem is that A Whale has never actually processed oily water before though it did pass a recent test in Portugal, where foamy water was sucked into the ship's bowels at sea and "did quite nicely," said Bob Grantham, an executive with TMT Group.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration supports the experiment and hopes A Whale is granted all necessary approvals "to see if it works," said Matt Strader, a deputy secretary of transportation.
TMT Group has hired a Washington lobbying firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, to help negotiate with federal regulators and to create public pressure in favor of A Whale.
One reason the ship came to Norfolk was so the Coast Guard could get a good look at it. TMT held a briefing for Coast Guard officials on Thursday, and a few Coast Guard officers attended the media event Friday.
Also attending the event was Ed Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University. TMT flew Overton to Norfolk to get a personal look at the mega- skimmer.
"Bureaucracy shouldn't stand in the way of cleaning up our coastline," Overton said. "We need help. So I encourage them to just go down there and not take no for an answer. I mean, seriously, how can it hurt?"
Ironically, the ship was originally built as a supertanker for oil. But soon afterward, the BP oil spill began off the Louisiana coast, and Su saw an opportunity.
He sailed the ship to Portugal for modifications, turning A Whale into an oil skimmer that "drinks sea water," Su said.
Su has spent "many millions" on the project, said Frank Maisano, a spokesman, and would "pretty much like to recover his costs."
The shipping magnate has not talked to BP yet, and is not sure who would pay his expenses, assuming A Whale is approved for the work.
Still, the ship was expected to leave Norfolk on Friday night, arriving in the Gulf within three days.
She is in the Gulf now and is expected to start Sunday. I sure hope it works!
"Nature always wears the colors of the spirit." - K. Gibran
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
Posted: 03-Jul-2010, 06:45 PM
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: America, Mid West
|QUOTE (wdorholt @ 03-Jul-2010, 05:24 AM)|
|QUOTE (Patch @ 02-Jul-2010, 08:59 AM)|
|It is coming from the USCG No ships NOT sailing under the US flag have been allowed to operate in US waters (which includes most of the gulf.) The well is in US water. |
Fact check is wrong by obama's and his administration's own admission.
Foreign ships were just requested when the Hurricane was eminent and the water too rough for them to work.
This is the Coast Guard:
National Incident Command: "15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved" in the response. A June 18 document released by National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen and a June 15 press release from the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center state: "Currently 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in the largest response to an oil spill in U.S. history. No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations as part of the response in the Gulf of Mexico."
Acting Maritime administrator: "[T]wenty-three percent of the vessels responding to the oil spill are not U.S.-flag," and they are "not in violation of the Jones Act." David Matsuda, acting Maritime administrator, stated in June 17 congressional testimony that "[d]uring the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S.-flag vessels have been used in every situation where U.S. vessels and crew are available. Seventy-seven percent of the vessels providing oil spill response in the Gulf are U.S.- flagged." He added: "Even though twenty-three percent of the vessels responding to the oil spill are not U.S.-flag, none of these are known to be in violation of any U.S. law or regulation. Vessels that do not call upon points in the United States are not in violation of the Jones Act.
The justice dept lied under oath to congress so do you expect any lesser dept do do any thing but the same!
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