Miles of oil containment booms are sitting in the Packgen warehouse in Auburn, Maine. Miles more can be produced quickly…but someone has to order them, pay for them, come get them and tote them to the Gulf. Does it surprise you, that as the oil washes up on the shores of beautiful beaches and treasured marshes, no one seems to be interested in oil containment booms? See a video below.
He’s [John LaPoint of Packgen] already had a representative from BP visit his factory and inspect his product. The governor of Maine, John Baldacci, visited the facility and made a video plea to no one in particular to close the deal. Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins wrote a letter on May 21 to the secretary of the Interior, the administrator of NOAA, and the commandant of the Coast Guard to alert them to the existence of Packgen, their supply of boom, and their demonstrated capacity to make more. I have no idea if those are the correct persons and agencies to notify about the manufacturing capacity and the availability of boom. One wonders if the senators know.
So, BP knows, the Maine governor knows, both of Maine’s senators know, and thanks to the Senators, Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior knows, the commandant of the Coast Guard knows, and the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) knows.
It’s obvious President Obama has been too busy to read the memo about Packgen’s oil containment booms. He is looking for some asses to kick, and now he has a list ready-made for him. Take a look at Packgen’s website where their oil containment booms practically sell themselves on their homepage.
Here are a some interesting points by Gregory Sullivan at PajamasMedia (linked above):
A lot of people have been suggesting many ways to deal with the oil, and the ideas generally range from the comical to plain counterproductive. A fetish for sending hair from barbershops to the Gulf Coast has swept various pockets of the country. Booms are mainly non-absorbent, because the last thing you want to do is congeal the stuff and contaminate it. Oil collected against a boom is fairly easy to process and recycle. Sorbent booms, designed to collect oil at the water’s edge, are made from materials that absorb oil but not water — unlike hair. Oil full of hair or straw lapping against a shoreline is a HazMat nightmare. And sorbent boom is not in short supply anyway.
This report says that as early as May 27th, two miles of oil containment boom was on its way to Louisiana from Portland, Maine (apparently not from Packgen). So, TWO miles? Only two miles? What’s up with that?
The DEP says it does take time to coordinate an effective response to a spill of this magnitude….Maine says its list of available assets is long…and ready to follow the booms to Louisiana whenever they get the call.
From the same May 27th article, I read that “BP has signed a deal with Maine agreeing to replace the boom within two years.” Is the boom on loan to BP? BP isn’t paying? About Packgen, maybe additional booms are not needed, or other suppliers are being used? Do we really have all the oil containment booms needed in the area? The video has more details.