When an oil spill occurs in water, one thing you want a lot of is boom: floating barriers that can contain the oil to a relatively restricted area. Since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and began the largest oil spill in US history, gulf-state governors have been begging for boom to protect their coastlines. Louisiana Governor Jindal asked for 5,000,000 feet of “hard” boom in early may. So far, he’s only received 20% of that. Supposedly, there just isn’t enough.
In what has got to be one of the most frustrating, infuriating moments of bureaucratic foot-dragging and incompetence since this whole mess began, a company in Maine has miles of boom available. They can churn out 40,000 feet per day, they’ve contacted federal officials and executives at BP – and no one will buy it from them:
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.
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.
Maine, like the rest of the country, is suffering from very high unemployment. But its residents aren’t out of work because they aren’t useful; they’re useful, but out of work because there’s nothing much useful to do. Lapoint was able to immediately add two shifts of competent and motivated workers, and by the fourth day of production was making forty thousand feet of boom a day.
It’s likely they could make even more. But no one was ready to purchase it.
This comes down to a failure of anyone other than Mr. Lapoint, from the President of the United States to BP executives, to take any initiative. Instead they’ve stuck to approved procedures: when the Governor of Louisiana wants to build sand berms to protect his marshes, he has to wait for approval from Washington because of environmental regulations. And when a company stands ready to do its part and work round the clock to supply the equipment we need, no one from the Fed can be moved to do anything, while BP sniffs because the design isn’t approved, yet.
This is the worst of all possible situations: a Federal government that makes everyone wait on it, depend on it – and then won’t act decisively in a situation where it is given the lead role by law.
All while the ecologies and economies of the Gulf states are devastated.
Here we have Americans willing to take the initiative, from the Jindal administration to a small company in Maine, and the statist nitwits in DC are blocking them every step of the way. They should have instead have said “damn the regulations” and bought every foot of boom Packgen had, shipped by military airlift to the Gulf, and then set the company to working 24 hours a day. If the President is so willing to “kick ass,” here is just the situation in which he should put boot to tail. This is disgraceful.
Apparently, there are two clean ups in order: first the Gulf, and then Washington, D.C.
LINKS: More at Hot Air.