America, You Asked For It!

Political News and Commentary from the Right

They had a plan, but that’s all they had…

by John Allison III, editor

Oh the bloated bureaucracy better known as the federal government never ceases to amaze us with its ability to disappoint.

The myriad of federal agencies spend thousands of billions (that’s TRILLIONS) of our tax dollars to generate plans for how best to step in and respond when disaster strikes, how best to protect us from the evils of big business and our wicked wealthy brethren. Uncle Sam confiscates our hard earned money while he’s telling us how his handling it will somehow make our lives better, make us feel safer, more protected.

Good ole Uncle Sam promises to be there when the chips are down. When disaster strikes, Uncle Sam has a plan for how to deal with it.

Like the plan the US Government had for dealing with a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Developed in 1994 and signed off on by US Coast Guard Captain J. W. Calhoun, it appears the “In Situ” Burn plan was designed for spills such as resulted from the Deepwater Horizon rig catastrophe.

If it is impractical or unsafe to contain an accidental or deliberate burn of spilled oil, it may still be possible to eliminate a major portion of the spill at or very close to the spill source. Sudden “batch” releases of oil (e.g., tanker accidents) or ongoing high-volume flow rates (e.g., oil well blowouts or pipeline ruptures) may result in the temporary accumulation of relatively thick oil layers. Particularly when winds and currents are low and/or when oil can be burned in the lee of a large object (e.g., vessel, island, etc.), it may be possible to sustain effective combustion.

*emphasis mine

The plan involves the towing of a special, patented fire retardant boom by two vessels that gather the oil to be burned. Once gathered and, if necessary, towed to a safe location away from the spill source or other hazards, the oil inside the boom is ignited and permitted to burn.

According to the plan, this method could potentially remove the 5000 barrels of oil spewing from the damaged well, and more…

It is evident that a 500-footlong fire boom (with backup replacement sections as needed) could be used in a U configuration to intercept oil and eliminate it at approximately 400 to 500 gallons/minute or about 15,000 barrels/day.

By now, you must be wondering why this plan hasn’t already been implemented. Why aren’t we seeing billowing black clouds of smoke pour into the sky to save the coastal environment in the Gulf? The plan is right there, in black and white, all laid out 16 years ago. Why the inaction in response to what promises to become an environmental disaster of epic proportion?

Simple really. It’s the government silly.

That’s right. The same government that spent who-knows-how-much to come up with this plan has failed to implement it because…are you ready for this…

The US government didn’t have the necessary equipment in the Gulf when the accident occurred. It didn’t have 10 fire booms, not 5 fire booms, not even one fire boom that might have harnessed the destruction about to be visited on the shores of our southern states.

Not one.

The plan has been in place for 16 years and the geniuses in our government tasked with enacting it had to contact the company in Illinois that makes the booms to purchase one. (“Uh…could you overnight that please?”)

Fortunately, Elastec/American Marine had one boom in stock and shipped it when the government bureaucrats called. (Thank God for capitalism and private companies! If the government was in charge of manufacturing the booms, it likely would have just now been firing up the assembly line.) But this isn’t something the UPS driver can deliver. It’s 500 feet long and it will take a few days to deliver and put into use.

Jeff Bohleber, Elastec’s chief financial officer says, “If they had six or seven of these systems in place when this happened and got out there and started burning, it would have significantly lessened the amount of oil that got loose.”

Since Elastec can’t just throw one of these booms together in a day, the mighty US has now been reduced to asking the company’s foreign customers if we can borrow booms they purchased to be prepared for events like this in their own country. Bohleber says there are six more being shipped in. “Hopefully, they will be here by Wednesday to be available for use on Thursday. Bear in mind, two days ago, we thought they would be here today,” he said.

The US government had a plan, it was just too incompetent to put the equipment in place to implement it.

Tags: Deepwater Horizon, Environment, In Situ, EPA, Elastec/American Marine, Elastec, Oil Spill, Oil Slick, BP, Transocean

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May 3, 2010 - Posted by | Environment


  1. Interesting how the President hasn’t been able to bully this Illinois company into “immediate production”…

    Comment by Alan | May 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. Ditto for the Chad/Cameroon Pipeline. There are NO area specific oil spill responsplans in place, there are inadequate material and logistics to fight a major oil spill.
    Exxon and COTCO are paying ip service only but when 100million gallons plu are emptie into the Gulf of Guinea,people MIGHT just wake up

    Comment by Alan M Dransfield | May 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. The moronic gubmint under Obama & Dems is even more incompetent than I’d have expected.

    Comment by return2commonsense | May 6, 2010 | Reply

  4. The US don’t take oil spillS seriously??!!
    Please see my letter to the US Embassy in London ref the Chad Cameroon Pipeline BOONDOOGLE
    The US Embassy to the UK
    24 Grosvernor Road
    W1A 1AE
    6TH Dec04
    Attn the Amabassador to the UK.
    Dear Sir


    I wish to draw your attention to evidence which supports my claims that US Treasury Officials are conspiring to pervert the Course of Justice and to Conceal serious financial,safety and environmental crimes related to Public Funded Projects in Africa.

    In particular,I refer to the Chad/Cameroon Pipeline Project (CCPP) which is funded by numerous International Aid agencies under the governing body of the World Bank/EIB.EXIM/IFC etc.

    There is compelling evidence that the Chad/Cameroon pipeline is inferior,sub-standard,unsafe and illegal and offers significant threats to human lives,human rights,public property and international environment. There is compelling evidence that Public Funds are being abused and have been used for purchasing arms by the Chad Government. Furthermore and more importantly the transparency and fiscal accountability safeguards are STILL not in place to prevent further violations.

    The pipeline offers IMMEDIATE significant threat to the drinking water resources along the entire 1070 km routing and Lake Chad. The offshore facilites of the Chad/Cameroon pipeline offers significant threats to the Atlantic Basin and International Waters.

    Moreover and more importantly the pipeline is envisaged to operate within this legal void for the next 40 years.

    The US Treasury Officals have conspired with the Oil Company and the Project Sponsors to conceal serious crimes which hold life threatening ramifications for the general public of Chad and Cameroon ,whom, have NOT been offered minimum safety and environmental protection as per the terms and conditions of the contract and codes of practice covering the hydrocarbon industry.

    I have contacted ALL the project oversight authorites with my concerns and to date my correspondence has not been acknowledged.

    I appeal to the US Ambassador to the UK to use his powers to intiate a safety and environmental audit of the pipeline project in the first instance and a criminal invetigations in the second instance. The pipeline has been operating for 18 months in the ABSENCE of statutory Oil Spill Response Plans and CRUCIAL safety/environment regulations have been wilfuly and knowingly compromised.

    There is compelling evidence that the World Bank Board of Directors have failed their duty of due care to ensure the pipeline has been designed,procured,constructed and operated in a SAFE and LAWFUL manner. Such unlawful actions by US Government departments and Oil Companies hold serious ramifications for the area from social,environmental,public health and safety,economical and environmental standpoint. I would also alert you to ongoing litigation between a former USAID Consultant to the CCPP and the US Dept of Agriculture where compelling evidence rests with the US Supreme Courts at this Juncture. I fully appreciate that such matters do not come under your direct remit but I have failed to get any acknowledgement or co-operation elsewhere,hence, I turn to your office in desperation in an attempt to avoid a certain CATASTROPHY. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.

    Kind regards
    Alan M Dransfield
    UK Representative for the Global Network of Good Governance

    Comment by Alan M Dransfield | June 13, 2010 | Reply

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