Those Environmental Cases

According to a report appearing in Canada”s Provincial Post, it was the EPA and not the Jones Act that”s blocking the use of foreign skimmers at the BP oil spill.

Two days ago we expressed our disgust at Senator McCain and other Jones Act critics who are calling for a repeal of the Act because, according to them, cleanup help by foreign vessels was rejected by U.S. officials “because of the Act.” Those critics are way off base and it took a non-U.S. newspaper to lay out the facts for us. Here”s the way the Post reported it:

“Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. ”Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the Chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

“The U.S. government responded with ”Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP”s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer — the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come around. By May 5, the U.S. had not come around. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment — unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sails circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

“Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn”t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn”t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.”” —

That 99.9985%, coincidentally, just about covers the number of Americans who”ll buy into the position taken by the above-mentioned critics. It would never occur to them to look beyond the headlines of the local newspaper. Will Rogers knew the score.

The Maritime cabotage Task Force also knows the score. They openly oppose McCain”s S. 3525 legislation because it would eliminate the very American industry that is helping to clean up the spill; it would then require the work to be outsourced to foreign companies; and in the final run it would put about 500,000 more Americans out of work. Just what we need. More unemployment.

Furthermore, it was revealed that S. 3525 is based on studies that are outdated and have long since been discredited by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Way to go, Senator.