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Is government laws hindering Gulf Spill cleanup?

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by freo-1, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. freo-1

    freo-1 New Member

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    I just found out something that makes my blood boil:

    Transportation Institute: Jones Act

    This law prevents any outside help from assisting with the Gulf Oil spill cleanup. There has been numerous offers from other nations to assist with cleanup, but this law prevents that help.

    Hard to believe, but President Bush (who the left loves to bash) suspended this law during Katrina aftermath.

    So, what gives here? Are the Democrats THAT afraid of the unions that they throw common sense out the window and refuse help? The Saudi's have some of the best oil cleanup processes in the world.

    So, when you see a certain politician ham for the camera looking for an nice person to kick, he can look in the mirror, and start with himself.

    Wonder how may people are aware of this?
     
  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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  3. dtuite

    dtuite Silverback

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    I wasn't aware that Jones did anything but make it mandatory to use US ships when trading between US ports -- keeping Liberian death ships with slave crews from destroying what's left of the U.S. shipping business.
     
  4. freo-1

    freo-1 New Member

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    Well, as it turns out, it does prevent assistance. We all learn something new every day.
     
  5. Politburo

    Politburo Active Member

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    You can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

    If there was a resource that would help, the Act would be waived. It's really that simple.

    Some people just have to see a conspiracy in everything...
     
  6. freo-1

    freo-1 New Member

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    With respect, nonsense.

    Here's some more on the subject:

    Jones Act Slowing Oil Spill Cleanup?
     
  7. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Um, I think the question should be, "are".

    :p
     
  8. Politburo

    Politburo Active Member

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    Oh, well if Fox says it, then it must be true. But then there's these bits, which are pretty much exactly what I said:

    “If there is the need for any type of waiver, that would obviously be granted,” said White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs. “But, we've not had that problem thus far.”

    When asked about this by Fox News, Admiral Allen said, “If it gets to the point where a Jones Act waiver is required, we're willing to do that too Nobody has come to me with a request for a Jones Act waiver.”

    A speculative quote from a Heritage flak is worthless. Also, as discussed here previously, the Kuwaiti spill was wholly different.

    ETA: This is just another attack on unions from the usual suspects.
     
  9. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Oh, it's better than that. Recall that the Coast Guard is officially part of the US military.

    So, it's an attack on the integrity of the statements made by a US military commander in the middle of a crisis ...

    in favor of an assertion made by a foreign for-profit company, that they could out-do Americans at this task.

    Spin works both ways.

    That said, can anybody here with any actual knowledge of the such operations offer an informed comment one way or the other, as to whether more oil skimmers would help? I mean, just because Fox flacks it doesn't necessarily mean its wrong.

    Not on topic, but for your infotainment, here's the best technical explanation I've found of what's been going on. Cleared up a lot for me. I just assumed that they lied when they said 1000 barrels a day. I was ticked at the government because it seemed like NOAA (?) at that point was helping BP lie. Nah. This provides a much more plausible explanation, from somebody who ran an undersea drilling rig. Doesn't address the skimmer issue, though. Be nice to find something as informed as this that did.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6444

    BP says they have more than 400 skimmers operating:

    http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/651463/

    OK, here's the actual detailed response by the Coast Guard, skimmers are about halfway down the page:

    http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/627127/

    "
    Q: There are many people who say that the best dredgers and skimmers in the world come from countries like the Netherlands and France and that they can't—they're not being asked to come in because of the Jones Act. Is that the case? And why not get around that, suspend that, so you can bring that other you know technology in?
    ADMIRAL ALLEN: Well, first of all, those are source countries. That's correct, they're available. But we are using them. We are dealing with folks like Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and other places. Anyplace that's got skimming capability that's available, we're willing to talk to them, and we actually have, in some cases, actually transferred the equipment down and will continue to do that.
    If it gets—if it gets to the point where there's a Jones Act required, we're willing to do that, too. Nobody's come to me with a request for a Jones Act waiver, but any skimming capability we can bring in, we're looking for.
    Q: So are the actual boats being brought in or just the equipment?
    ADMIRAL ALLEN: Well, in some cases it's the skimmer itself. In some cases, the skimming equipment is organic to the vessel itself. It depends on what you're talking about. To my knowledge, what we brought in is actually skimming equipment rather than the vessels themselves, but we can give you a detailed listing."


    ...


    "

    Q: You said that you're willing to entertain Jones waivers requests.
    ADMIRAL ALLEN: Yes.
    Q: But none have come—none have come to you. Who would they come from?
    ADMIRAL ALLEN: They would be sent up—come from a variety of ways. For—I'll give you a good one right now we're working on. The State of Louisiana is looking for as many dredges as they can bring in to do the barrier island berm project that's been approved, now funded.
    We worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to release any dredges that aren't needed from projects. They are putting out a solicitation around the country for additional dredges. If there is a shortfall, they can bring foreign dredges in, but that would require a Jones Act waiver. And I've told the State of Louisiana, if you get to that point, submit a waiver, and we'll consider it. That would be a typical scenario."






    And this, on the comparison to the Saudi cleanup:



    "

    Q: Are you still convinced that the supertanker oil recovery method used in Saudi Arabia and other places won't work here? And why is that (inaudible)?
    ADMIRAL ALLEN: You know a couple differences. The spill they operated against was a very large and concentrated—what I would call a monolithic spill—where they could actually make changes to the tanker design that would allow the stuff to flow in through the hull.
    The difference here is—number one—it's not a large monolithic spill, and the concentrations are separated dependent on where they came to the surface and what the wind and current had done to them. And the second issue is the pure density of vessels that are out there.
    In and around the spill site, where the largest concentrations of oil would come up, where that might be something you could do—at any one particular time in those two or three square miles, there could be anywhere between 25 and 30 vessels doing the production off the wellhead, drilling the relief wells, offshore supply vessels. It's very, very packed there.
    The final thing is, there is no tanker that's been outfitted to do that right now. The tankers would have to be modified, and we have some technical issues about what that would entail regarding the stability of the ships and the structural issues associated with that.
    So just in general, not quite the same set of circumstances, not the same environment, not the same type of spill. And the density of vessels out there, I think, would make it very, very difficult."




    ---------------



    Sounds to me like the guy knows what he's doing. Moving big boats around isn't the kind of job that attracts incompetents. If somebody can provide informed evidence to the contrary, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, I think I'll trust this guy.
     
  10. Politburo

    Politburo Active Member

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    It is absolutely correct that just because Fox says it, doesn't mean it is wrong. But when they're the only ones saying it, and their source is the Heritage Foundation, that should tell you something.
     
  11. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Rubbish. Another thread that belongs in Fred's House of Politics.

    Tom
     
  12. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Me being me, I decided to look at the Hurricane Katrina exception. It wasn't to help with deal with the damage. It was to allow oil producers to ship oil out after the pipelines were damaged. Basically, it was there to minimize the interruption of income to oil producers affected by the pipeline disruption, as described by this application for a waiver:

    http://www.npga.org/files/public/Jones_Act_Waver_9-05.pdf
     
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  13. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Aint the internet great? Truths, half truths, lies, deliberate misinformation, and above all no in depth look into context, (Thank you Chogan) leads to a irrationally ignorant populace.

    Nothing to see here folks,, move on.
     
  14. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Ah, one more comment, based on one more lookup.

    People attacking the "Jones Act" should be aware that the proper title of the bill is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. As in, the US Merchant Marine. In this era of permanent wartime footing, where people are willing to pull the patriotism card over just about anything, it might be considered un-American to criticize an integral part of our national defense.

    My father-in-law served in the US Merchant Marine in WWII. They had a higher casualty rate than any other branch of the service. Suggests they were doing something fairly important.

    From encyclopedia.com, the introduction to the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act:

    "
    It is necessary for the national defense and for the proper growth of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, ultimately to be owned and operated privately by citizens of the United States; and it is the declared policy of the United States to do whatever may be necessary to develop and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine.
    So, yeah, we're supposed to think that the government just stupidly protecting featherbedding US vessel operators.

    In fact, the law was passed to ensure that we'd have a US Merchant Marine available in time of need. With full realization that we'd have to have economic protectionism to do that. And, from reading that article, it looks like just about every other country in the world does the same thing.

    So, the people who passed the Merchant Marine act did it as a matter of US national interest, as part of our national defense. They did it fully realizing that it would restrict that market and raise shipping costs. The US Merchant Marine came in pretty handy in WWII. Now I'm seeing Heritage use the oil spill to beat the drum for repeal of the Merchant Marine Act. I guess if they can guarantee we'll never be involved in a conflict of that scale again, they may have a point. Or one the size of the Korean conflict. http://www.usmm.org/koreaships.html Or one the size of the Vietnam War. http://www.usmm.org/vietnam.html Or the gulf war http://www.usmm.org/gulf1.html

    If you step back from it, it looks to me like we keep these restrictions in place for the same reason we have an Army Reserve. It is a cheap way to provide emergency military capability.
     
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  15. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    So, I'm intrigued. And I'm waiting for a long computer run to finish.

    Do you have to work for a union to work on a US-flagged vessel? And just how cushy are these jobs, anyways, to draw the ire of the Right?

    Labor question, ask the BLS, for water transport workers:

    Water Transportation Occupations

    Unionized?

    "The rate of unionization for these workers is about 12 percent."

    Cushy?

    Median annual wages of captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels were $61,960 in May 2008. ...


    Median annual wages of ship engineers were $60,690 ...


    Median annual wages of sailors and marine oilers were $34,390 in May 2008. ...


    Compare to other professions, from BLS:


    Median annual wages of registered nurses were $62,450 in May 2008


    Median annual wages of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $47,100 to $51,180 in May 2008;


    "Median annual wages of fire fighters were $44,260 in May 2008."


    In May 2008, median annual wages of parking enforcement workers were $32,390


    ---
    So ship captain makes as much money as a nurse, a deck hand makes as much as a meter maid.
     
  16. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Isn't misinformation a great thing?

    Repeat something often (and loud enough) and it becomes true,,,

    "Obamas a socialist, Obamas a socialist, Obamas a socialist,,, ad absurdum!
     
  17. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    It would be meaningful to pause for a moment and consider the
    fuzziness of the term "the military" here.

    In the US there are seven "uniformed services."

    Five of these are "armed services, " which many folks regard to be
    "the military," which would include the Coast Guard.

    Four of these are in the Dept. of Defense, some folks say only these
    are "the military," which would not include the Coast Guard.

    The Coast Guard is the fifth "armed service." It is not now, nor has it
    ever been in the Dept. of Defense. (In time of declared war or as the
    President may elect, the Coast Guard serves as a element of the
    Navy, but remains a separate, distinctive existence while so doing.)
    Since it was created in 1915, the Coast Guard has been in the Depts.
    of Treasury, Transportation, and currently Homeland Security.

    For a more complete understanding, here is an unofficial but well
    written extended discussion.

    I would add only that the Act was also intended to ensure a continuing
    existence of an in-country ocean-going ship building industry. Carriage
    of cargos between two US ports is reserved to US built "bottoms."
     
  18. evnow

    evnow Active Member

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    You mean "government laws" as opposed to "laws of physics" ? I'd say the blame in this case should go to "laws of physics".
     
  19. freo-1

    freo-1 New Member

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  20. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Just because you disagree with the conclusions such as "the spill was not an accident, but rather the inevitable result of our addiction to oil" doesn't mean "proof of poor performance". It might mean that the administration is thinking through cause and effect, and looking a much larger picture, the consequences of which might result in better public policy (and ergo fewer environmental "accidents) going forward. When you crunch the car because the brakes are bad, it doesn't make a lot of sense to repaint the fenders but not fix the brakes.

    How about we all agree that nearly everyone's response to nearly every situation could have been better, and endeavor not too make the same mistakes again going forward. To that end, sane energy policy is part of that solution.