Edward Overton, a professor emeritus from Louisiana State University, was among the visitors at the port where the A Whale was berthed. He called the current cleanup inadequate.The contaminated water is brought in through a dozen slits on the bow, where the oil and contaminants are separated and the cleaner water is discharged back out into the Gulf. However, the EPA has taken issue with the fact that the discharged water won't be 100% clean and needs to sign off on the quality of the treated water going back.
"It is absolutely gigantic. It's unbelievable. We need this ship,” he told TMT executives in Norfolk. “That oil is already contaminating our shoreline.”
There is also the matter of the Jones Act, which has proven to be a major obstacle for foreign offers of assistance since the Deepwater Horizon sunk, is still in full effect. US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen insisted that the Jones Act wasn't that big an obstacle, since it didn't hinder vessels operating three miles or more offshore. While this is true, this would hinder the foreign-flagged vessel's ability to resupply and return to shore during the cleanup unless there was an explicit waiver of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (the original name of the Jones Act).
[By the way, did you know that the A Whale, the Jones Act and the 80,000 or so feet of containment boom from a Maine company are "talking points" of the vast right-wing conspiracy? You see- the president of the Maine company sent Scott Brown a $500 donation back in January, so he's obviously in on it. Oh...and some commentor on a liberal blog says LaPointe's mom gave a few hundred dollars to ultra-right wing zealot Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe over the last decade, so they're in on it. And while Mother Jones concedes that President Bush quickly lifted the Jones act in the wake of Katrina, it was only to help his Big Oil buddies move product out of damaged refineries in Southern Louisiana. Because removing a bunch of volatile and unstable chemicals and materials from industrial facilites damaged by hurricanes benefits nobody but Republicans and oil companies, apparently -NANESB!]
Elsewhere, cleanup efforts were halted because of the approach of Hurricane Alex. While the center of the storm made landfall in Northern Mexico, the outer reaches of the storm were expected to whip through the Deepwater Horizon site along with some of the coastline where cleanup efforts were under way. There was also the chance that Alex could've changed direction and moved closer towards the affected areas of Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi. Hurricane Alex briefly gained in strength to a Category 2 storm when making landfall in a relatively sparsely area of Tamaulipas state in Northern Mexico, some 130 miles south of Brownsville, TX.
The aftermath of the oil spill took a more partisan turn when House Democrats nixed Republican Congressman Steve Scalise's (LA-1) proposed trip to fly 10 lawmakers down to the Gulf Coast to see the damaged coastal areas firsthand. The Republican Congressmen invited by Scalise wanted to use their office's spending allowance, but Democrats claim that the ever-so-effective Department of Homeland Security would not approve official visits to disaster areas (which constitute much of the Gulf Coast) and ask that trips be organized through jurisdictional committees in order to avoid having to cater to 'a ton of individual lawmakers'. Interesting how the House Democrats have magically discovered fiscal responsibility now instead of when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was using the US Military to chauffeur around her family and running up a $101,000 bar tab. All of Louisiana's coastal Parishes are represented in Congress by Republicans.
Shortly after Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal ordered the National Guard to begin construction on some artificial barrier islands to prevent to oil from reaching further inland, the Governor's efforts at oil abatement were thwarted by the Coast Guard themselves when they ordered the shutdown of oil vacuuming barges while they were inspected for fire-extinguishers and life vests. A few days later, the dredging effort was ordered halted by the Interior Department saying that the rock, dirt and ballast for the artificial barriers were being dredged up in an environmentally sensitive area. A state official stressed that the dredging had been taking place within the original federal permit area at the north end of the Chandaleurs all month.
Another measure the Interior Department has taken in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is to change the name of the Mineral Management Services.
The agency formerly known as the Mineral Management Services will now be referred to as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOMRE). The name change was effective June 18, 2010.