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Unleash the private sector to clean up the Gulf

A little over a week ago on June 5th, the White House confirmed that Barack Obama knew within 24 hours after the Deep Water Horizon rig exploded that the oil well would leak continually at least through August and would likely cause an unprecedented environmental catastrophe. Yet, the president didn't inform the American people. Rather, he just accepted BP's determination that the leak could not be stopped. In response, I wrote this at my site:

Even if there were nothing Barack Obama could have done to stop the leak, there were plenty of things he could have done to at least try to minimize the environmental impact of the leak. He could have addressed the American people to prepare them for the potential environmental devastation this spill could cause. He could have ordered the mobilization of as much of the government's resources as possible and put out an SOS to private companies and organizations with expertise in disaster clean up to try to prevent the oil slick from entering the gulf's coastal waters. With the advanced notice that he was given, he could have had them ready and waiting.

Tonight, Mike Huckabee dedicated his entire show to the various products that private citizens and companies have developed that, if implemented right away, could have prevented a large portion of the devastation to the Gulf Coast. He had people demonstrate products made out of organic materials that if laid on top of the water will soak up oil and leave the water. One such product is, believe it or not, hay. Here's a video explaining how it works. These same two guys did the same demonstration on Huck's show as well:

These same two gentlemen also demonstrated other products, including super-shammy, if you will, and a recycled carpet fiber product. Both of those products were created to absorb the oil instead of the water.

The last product Huckabee highlighted was the most technologically advanced. Ecosphere is a company that manufactures mobile water and oil separation machines that can clean over half a million gallons of water a day. Troy Aikman's and Drew Bledsoe's support helped get this technology more exposure:

It was a fascinating show that demonstrated that the answers to this gulf oil spill lie within America's entrepreneurs and private companies. As I said last week, if President Obama had gone on television within days of the original explosion and put out an SOS to America's private sector, chances are he would have gotten far more control over this situation much sooner and the Gulf Coast's beaches and marine life wouldn't be at risk of being permanently destroyed.


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Comments (16)

But but but it wont be the... (Below threshold)
retired military:

But but but it wont be the govt doing it therefore Obama wants nothing to do with it.

Here Lee Ward let me save you the trouble.

Republicans didnt have a problem with the govt cleaning up oil spills until a black man became president.

Unleash the private sector ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Unleash the private sector to clean up the Gulf.

That would be a great idea except for one thing: do we have enough private sector left to do anything?

PrioritiesOr,... (Below threshold)

Priorities
Or, how an engineer and a politician approaches a problem...

"Let's work the problem people."
   (~NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz, during the Apollo 13 crisis - 1970)

"I want to know whose ass to kick!"
   (~President Barack Hussein Obama, during the gulf oil spill - 2010)
-

Paul, you have found the d... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Paul, you have found the difference between someone taking responsibility and someone seeking to affix blame. As Moe Lane wrote today it's the difference between saying "The buck stops here" meaning that you are the person ultimately responsible for all the actions of the government, and saying, "The buck stops with me" meaning that you decide who gets blamed for all the problems. One President was a great leader. The other one is currently in office.

http://www.redstate.com/moe_lane/2010/06/12/the-buck-stops-with-me/

The biggest scandal of this... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The biggest scandal of this crisis is that we HAD an emergency plan for such an event in place since 1994 - approved and implemented by the DOE and EPA under Clinton. It involved a massive deployment of fire booms and burning the oil as it hit the surface, preventing a spreading slick while the leak was fixed.

We never had the booms in place in the Gulf due to budgeting priorities, but enacting the plan would have had them there quickly, probably in time to contain most of the environmental damage. It was really the only chance of containing the leakage with any reasonable probability of success. But it had to be ordered within a day or two of the accident to have the best odds of effectiveness.

Obama couldn't make the decision (and wouldn't empower anyone else to make it) that fast because he has never had to make such a critical decision in his background. He was a "community organizer" and lecturer, and a state senator who set a record for voting "present" in the Illinois legislature. He voted "present" in this case, too, and that's why we have the disaster we face today.

"... (Mike) Huckabee Finn d... (Below threshold)

"... (Mike) Huckabee Finn dedicated his entire show ..."

Huckabee Finn. The one past pretender to what these days passes as the "presidency" who is even more creepy -- and pathetic -- than the present pretender.

Now there's the feller I'd turning to for advice and guidance during catastrophic events.

There's oil in them there w... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

There's oil in them there waters and it's free to anyone who can recover it. All we need is a refinery that will take oil with a little sea water in it and private companies will hunt the oil slick to extinction.

Of course they are not going to take an oil/hay or oil/sand mix, so skimmers and vacuum devices are the way to go.

"Now there's the feller I'd... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Now there's the feller I'd turning to for advice and guidance during catastrophic events."

Hell, I don't give a damn where the ideas come from if they're good ones that can be implemented fast. Costner's got some high-speed oil-water separation gear ready to go, but I understand (and this may be false) that the EPA won't allow deployment because it doesn't get the water clean enough by their specs.

Better to leave the oil there, I guess, than incompletely remove it...

Obama seems to be fresh out of ideas, and it's time for ideology to be put aside while the problem is worked.

Obama is in way over his he... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Obama is in way over his head. (I thought he was in over his head as a Senator). Let's pray nothing really bad happens on his watch.

If Obama had let the privat... (Below threshold)
hermie:

If Obama had let the private sector work to clean up the spill, then there would be no crisis to exploit. No BP villian to demonize. No need to push an 'emergency' cap and tax bill.

Instead, the 'Present-ent' decided to let the vast SEIU controlled Federal bureaucracy place roadblocks in front of the superior problem-solving private sector.

Barry is interested only in... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Barry is interested only in 'cap and trade'. Nothing else is of consequence to him. In 'using' the spill to advance his agenda, he missed how his perceived ineffectiveness would tarnish his 'brand'. Now he doesn't know what to do.

Following the proc... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Following the process unfolding thus far, the conspiracist in me says this is a great prelude to nationalizing the oil industry. May be quite wrong, but that's how I view it.

Betcha the idea is floated shortly.

Any ideas on that?

Funny how you guys blame Ob... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Funny how you guys blame Obama for this "failure to act." Since BP was the one benefitting from the sale of the oil, shouldn't BP have had back-up plans in place in case their blow-out "preventer" blew out?

Why didn't BP have a million bales of hay stockpiled somewhere near the Gulf, "just in case?" Why didn't BP have a contract in place with Ecosphere? Why don't they have one now? Why didn't BP immediately "put out an SOS" to the private sector that they needed help containing the spill? Why did they minimize the estimates of how much oil was being spilled for weeks? Could it be that it would mean admitting that they were completely unprepared for this kind of thing?

Conservatives are always crying about excessive, onerous regulation of free enterprise. Well, this is what happens after 30-plus years of sweetheart regulation of industry, under Republican AND Democratic administrations.

All the things that you say in your excerpt that Obama could have done in the first few days, it was BP's responsibility to do. If Obama had chimed in on Day One, you'd be all over him for "socialist tyranny" or some such nonsense.

I got news for you ghouls. You may think this disaster is "Obama's Katrina," but it's not. This is evidence that big corporations don't now, and never did, give a shit about the environment, their customers, their employees, or anybody else. And regular folks can see it plain as day, finally. This is gonna end up in a wave of environmental legislation so fucking stringent the EPA will be fining CEOs for farting in elevators. And Obama will smell like a rose when this is over, mark my words.

Conservatives are ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Conservatives are always crying about excessive, onerous regulation of free enterprise. Well, this is what happens after 30-plus years of sweetheart regulation of industry, under Republican AND Democratic administrations.

You forget that the only reason they are drilling in mile deep water is because of government regulations that don't allow shallow water exploration and drilling. Also, there are lots of places on dry land where they could drill to meet our needs, but those are off limits too.

You can't blame the Deepwater horizon blowout on the lack of government regulation, because it only existed due to government regulation.

All the things that you say in your excerpt that Obama could have done in the first few days, it was BP's responsibility to do. If Obama had chimed in on Day One, you'd be all over him for "socialist tyranny" or some such nonsense

And yet liberals were critical of Bush for not jumping in right after hurricane Katrina even though the law required the Governor of Louisiana to ask for Federal help, which was late coming. Liberals created the standard by which Obama is now being judged.

I got news for you ghouls. You may think this disaster is "Obama's Katrina," but it's not.

Fair or not, polls show the Deepwater horizon blowout is worse for Obama than Katrina was for Bush.

This is evidence that big corporations don't now, and never did, give a shit about the environment, their customers, their employees, or anybody else. And regular folks can see it plain as day, finally.

This is not news to anyone I know. There is a place for reasonable regulation to protect the environment, protect employees and protect the public, but without crippling the economy.

This is gonna end up in a wave of environmental legislation so fucking stringent the EPA will be fining CEOs for farting in elevators. And Obama will smell like a rose when this is over, mark my words.

Liberals thought they won an ideological contest in 2008, but Democrats are coming to realize that regular folks, as you call them, don't have the luxury of being idealistic and instead vote their pocketbook. Certainly there's a place for regulations that will actually prevent another Deepwater horizon blowout, but polls in the spill's most affected areas show that the public understands that we need domestic oil production and the good American jobs that go with it.

Democrats are going to pay a high price for their performance on the economy in 2010 and if they continue down that path 2012 will put them in the position 2008 put Republicans in.

But if the Obama supporters... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

But if the Obama supporters can just repeat enough times that there was nothing he could have done then it becomes true. In Hollywood\liberal world perception is everything. Screw reality.

These types of emergencies are the administration responsibility which is Obama's this time. BP failing to do something does not let the administration of the hook. It is Obama and his administration responsibility to make sure all that can be done is done. If BP, the Coast Guard, or anyone else screws up, it is still Obama's fault because he is the one ultimately in charge.

Obama has said he is the one ultimately responsible and he is. Now he needs to stop just paying lip service to the idea of being in charge and start being in charge.

Yet more evidence toward my... (Below threshold)
BlueNight:

Yet more evidence toward my theory that Barack Obama is playing Francisco d'Anconia in order to usher in a new era of conservatism.




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