Obama Sides with Unions and Environmentalists over Americans in Gulf

Since the election of our current President I have consistently stated that he may be the President but he will never be my President. The current crisis in the Gulf is a perfect example of why. Despite his stated desire to be the President of all Americans, Barack Obama has demonstrated such words are meaningless rhetoric for political consumption. The Obama voice that we should be listening to is the one that speaks louder than words.

Since the beginning of the BP Gulf oil spill, we have had domestic resources available which the President has not utilized and offers of expert foreign help, some of it superior to our own capabilities, which the President has refused to accept. It’s the refusal of these foreign offers that is particularly revealing of Obama’s mindset.

BP CEO Tony Hayward has been the brunt of massive, international criticism for his behavior. Barack Obama has also personally been critical of Hayward and BP. Hayward’s comment that he’d like his life back and his decision to attend a yacht race while the Gulf crisis remains unresolved have been seen as evidence of his lack of concern and engagement regardless of what official statements BP might release. BP is seen as fiddling while Rome burns. Response to him and his actions is understandable.

Inexplicably, President Obama has avoided similar charges being laid at his doorstep. Searching for “whose a** to kick” and shaking down BP for $20 billion between shots on the front nine gives the impression of effective engagement and serves to divert attention from his own equally irresponsible and callous disregard for those impacted by the spill.

At issue are resources for cleaning up oil spills known as skimmers. They have a variety of designs, applications and capacities. But skimmer technology is proven and in daily use around the world. Recognizing large spills need large capacity skimmers, the Market has developed just such products.

These products are being offered to the US from all over the world. But the Obama administration refuses to accept them. There are are two basic reasons why, one environmental and one rooted in protectionist labor policy. President Obama cares more about the interests of Labor Unions and Environmentalists than he does everyday Americans being devastated by the oil spill.

The environmental argument is irresponsibility in the extreme. The Taiwanese have a ship in US waters, waiting for permission to be deployed to the Gulf, that can remove 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the waters. Current estimates of what is flowing into the gulf range from 5,000 to 25,000 barrels per day (Note:figures are determined assuming litres=quarts and 42 gallons per barrel. It’s understood this is not an exact conversion). Every day, the Taiwanese ship could remove 20 days worth of oil being spilled in the Gulf.

The Taiwanese Super Skimmer sucks up water and oil and separates the two. The oil is stored aboard the ship and the water is pumped back into the ocean. Since the the oil/water separation is not 100% effective, some water returned to the Gulf has oil in it. How much? An AP writer says, “traces of oil.” But even those traces require EPA permission for the technology to be deployed. 500,000 barrels out – traces back in. The irony and surreal nature of the situation is obvious. The President could sign an order to deploy the technology. He refuses …

In addition, the President hides behind protectionist labor policies not meant to be applied to situations such as this. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as The Jones Act,

… deals with cabotage (i.e., coastal shipping) and requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents …

In addition, amendments to the Jones Act, known as the Cargo Preference Act (P.L. 83-644), provide permanent legislation for the transportation of waterborne cargoes in U.S.-flag vessels.

In the event of emergency, Presidents can suspend the Jones Act. President Bush did so after Katrina. President Obama decimated the livelihoods of thousands by enacting a moratorium on drilling. He permits the livelihood of thousands more to be decimated as oil washes ashore. Yet he has the gall to claim he is doing all he can. Other countries have ships and crews, waiting to help, sitting idle in American waters, including the Taiwanese ship, flagged out of Liberia and carrying a crew of 32. How long must we wait for Barack Obama to decide the devastation of America’s economy outweighs the temporary suspension of 32 union jobs.

Worse, some of the most effective technology doesn’t even need such attention. According to Wierd Koops, chairman of the Dutch organization for combating oil spills, Spill Response Group Holland, Dutch technology is available which can be deployed “… very quickly, because only the oil skimmers need to be flown across the Atlantic and placed on local tankers …” While this still violates the Jones Act provision that such material be constructed in the United States and owned by U.S. citizens it gets around the shipping issue. It’s not like the US has companies capable of producing such equipment in a reasonable time frame, if at all. Why is this not the easiest decision of Obama’s presidency?

The conclusion is inescapable. We elected an inexperienced, empty suit with ties to people, places and policy detrimental to America’s best interests. He is incapable of action supportive of the Free Market, the notion of Americans protecting America or his constitutional obligation to secure the liberties of the people. He cannot distinguish between the anonymity of the Illinois Senate and the focus on his solo performance on the Presidential stage. Having flubbed easily memorized lines and eschewing the cue cards, the President resorts to blaming his supporting cast, stage hands and the orchestra while boasting of his award winning performance. The quintessential diva.

But beyond the staging, smoke and mirrors, Americans are being savaged. This is no play. It’s a battle. And it must be asked, who is more despicable? The man who shoots another man, even innocently or accidentally, or the man who watches the victim bleed out, having the power to help yet without lifting a finger, all while claiming he’s an integral part of the life-saving? If you can find the President somewhere on the back nine, ask him that for me …

From Blue Collar Muse