The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

SCANDAL – Administration lies about conclusion by expert panel to ban off shore drilling. “We never said that” expert panelists say. Obama still refusing skimmer ships from foreign countries….

Posted by iusbvision on June 14, 2010

This is part I of what is now becoming a full-blown scandal.

The White House and the Interior Secretary modified the report’s conclusions made by an expert panel to ban offshore drilling in the gulf for six months when in fact they concluded the opposite. It is actually safer to do the new inspections of offshore rigs while they are operating, but the White House wants off shore drilling stopped and is willing to increase the threat to the environment and the economy to do so.

Part II  – Obama Administration citing Jones Act to Refuse Help from foreign Ships.

The administration could wave the Jones Act with the stroke of a pen. President Bush did so for Katrina. Meanwhile foreign countries like the Dutch and some European oil companies are offering ships to help in the clean up and the administration blows them off. This is deliberate folks as not even the Obama Administration is capable of this level of incompetence. They know they can wave the Jones Act because they did so recently to install wind turbines off the coast of Delaware.

Skimmer Boats Available. No Interest.

June 11, 2010 – 5:08 PM | by: Brian Wilson

With millions of gallons of oil needing to be cleaned up — and with more being added to the mix every day — oil skimming boats are one of the top priorities. Four hundred are working now and they’re barely making a dent. Officials from four Gulf states are begging for more skimmer boats to protect beaches and delicate inlets. So, you might think BP and the Coast Guard would be interested in a proposal from a Dallas businessman to bring as many 25 oil clean up boats to the Gulf. But Fred McCallister says he all he’s hearing is “radio silence.”

“I think all resources that are available should be thrown at it, and I really don’t understand it. I don’t have the patience for a situation where equipment is available to take care of this type of catastrophe but nothing is happening.”

McCallister claims his proposal has been submitted through appropriate channels. He has 12 boats ready to go — and a line on 13 more. The problem is they are not US owned and operated boats, and are therefore barred from working in US coastal waters by a 1920’s law known as the Jones Act.

For the past two days, officials from the Unified Command to the White House said they were prepared to waive the Jones Act if there is a need. Today White House Environmental Advisor, Carol Browner told Fox News that the Obama administration had “not received a request from the Coast Guard to waive the Jones Act.” Browner continued, “ If we have one, obviously we’ll respond to it. We talk to Admiral Allen every single day – many, many times a day. He is not shy in asking for what he needs. And so if that’s what he needs, he will get an answer.”

Admiral Thad Allen is on record saying, he would actively consider waiving the Jones Act if there was a demonstrated need to do so.

“If we have a reason to consider a waiver of the Jones Act, we certainly will do that.” Allen then quickly added, “ None has been presented to me.”

It may be that no waiver requests are making their way up the chain because the idea of waivers is being rejected by those beneath Allen.

A Lt. Commander with the Coast Guard told Fox News offers of help involving foreign ships are not being considered because they do not “meet the operational requirements of the Unified Area Command.” In a follow up phone conversation we asked — is complying with the Jones Act one of those operational requirements? “Yes,” we were told, “It does apply.” [“doesn’t meet with operation requirements” …. that is bureaucratic double speak for a non -answer. We are talking about an oil spill the size of three states. Get every ship you can out there to start picking it up – Editor]

McCallister, who was raised in Mississippi, desperately wants to help, but he is growing weary over how hard it is to get his proposal considered.

“I had somebody who is actually on the ground down there tell me that it’s some of the most disorganized activity they’ve ever seen in their lives. This is not handled in an organized fashion. You know, I’m sure that BP [tries] to make the representation that they’re doing the right thing, but where the rubber hits the road, it’s not happening.”

Joseph Carafano of the Heritage Foundation believes the Obama administration has been slow in waiving the Jones Act out of fear it will offend organized labor.

“They hate when the Jones Act gets waived and they pound on politicians when they do that. So … are we giving in to unions and not doing everything we can, or is there some kind of impediment that we don’t know about?”

Admiral Allen said today waivers must be considered on a case by case basis, but Fox News has obtained a general waiver granted by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in the days following Hurricane Katrina. According to a news article in Tradewinds Magazine, a US Customs official ruled recently that the Jones Act does not apply to foreign owned vessels installing wind turbines off the coast of Delaware.

 

Fox News:

Representative Miller says the most disturbing inaction is the lack of skimmers in Florida waters. “It looks like part of the plan is as long as the tide is going out and this oil is not making it into the pass, that they are going to let it go back in the gulf, says Miller. “My idea is why not collect it where you can, even if it’s two or three miles off of the shore?”

Miller added, “The administration is saying that the Jones Act is part of the reason that we’re not able to get some of the vessels in here we need. I say Mr. President, if you need something from this congress, ask for it.”

The Jones Act, officially titled the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires vessels working in U.S. waters be built in the U.S. and be crewed by U.S. workers. President Obama has not waived the Jones Act and therefore cannot accept offers of skimmer ships from other countries.

 

The Dredging Industry is saying the same thing. Dredging News Online:

Jones Act could be waived to allow foreign vessels to help with oil spill

News – June 14, 2010

The Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) in the US says the American maritime industry “supports immediate action to address the unfolding environmental disaster in the Gulf.”

Said the MCTF: “Federal law called the Jones Act requires that American vessels be used for domestic transportation activities in the US, and countless American vessels are already responding in the Gulf. In addition, we know that many other American vessels are standing by ready to help.”

However, said the MCTF: “There are well-established federal procedures for waiving the Jones Act to bring in foreign vessels in those situations where American vessels are not available. The American maritime industry has not and will not stand in the way of the use of these well-established waiver procedures to address this crisis.”

As highlighted elsewhere in Dredging News Online, a number of well known dredging companies based in Europe say they have offered to help tackle the spill but that their offers have not been taken up by the Obama administration.

 

Boston Examiner is saying the same thing – LINK.

Browner says that the government is in charge and that BP must get government approval every step of the way – LINK

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