Cross posted at Left Coast Rebel
From a recent piece written by Dick Morris:
“It's one thing to say that Obama's administration showed ineptitude and mismanagement in its handling of the Gulf oil spill. It is quite another to grasp the situation up close, as I did during a recent visit to Alabama.
According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan -- early on -- to erect huge booms offshore to shield the approximately 200 miles of the state's coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms -- some weighing tons and seven meters high -- to guard their coast.
But...no sooner were the booms in place than the Coast Guard… uprooted them and moved them to guard the Louisiana coastline instead.
So Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.
But...the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan, saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.
So Alabama…decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person, scooping up oil that had washed ashore.
But...OSHA refused to allow them to work more than 20 minutes out of every hour and required an hour break after 40 minutes of work, so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.
The short answer is that every agency -- each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda -- was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill, with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries and recreational facilities.”
So, as per usual and standard, the government has completely road blocked every single effort People have come up with to clean this mess up, whilethe Fedzilla goes about the business of protecting us from ourselves and the breeding habitat of turtles. Turtles that will likely soon die in an oil slick before they can breed again anyway. Let us not forget Obama’s refusal to step on Union toes and rescind the Jones act for this emergency.
But, once again proving that when there is a problem that needs solved, someone will invent it and it will not be the Government. Enter Kevin Costner. Now, I do not know what the man’s politics are but apparently he is a Capitalist. That is at least a good starting point.
Apparently more than ten years ago Kevin Costner, of Dances with Wolves and Robin Hood fame, wondered why we had so much trouble separating oil from water and decided to put his not-inconsiderable-wealth where his curiosity was.
Costner became inspired to work on a solution after watching coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The Valdez spill happened in 1989 and occurred off the coast of Alaska when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef. Approximately 11 million gallons of oil spilled into Prince William Sound, causing widespread harm to the local wildlife, environment and economy.
In 1993 Kevin,along with his Scientist brother, Dan, procured a technology transfer from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory for a centrifugal oil-water separator. Apparently the Government could not get the technology to work (imagine that). He founded Costner Industries (CINC) and committed the next 15 years, and over $20 million (possibly as much as $24 million) toward R&D of his oil separator. The oil separator is a powerful centrifuge that can separate oil from water by spinning it at a high speed, leaving the water 99 percent oil free.
In his recent congressional testimony for government approval to allow BP to test them, Costner recounted his struggle to effectively market the centrifuge (in the past). He explained that although the machines are quite effective, they can still leave trace amounts of oil in the treated water that exceeds current environmental regulations. Because of that regulatory hurdle, he said, he had great difficulty getting oil industry giants interested without first having the approval of the federal government. So, just another example of the Government worried about one snowball during an avalanche.
So does the thing work?
BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said, "We tested it in some of the toughest environments we could find, and actually what it's done — it's quite robust," Saying, "This is real technology with real science behind it, and it's passed all of those tests." He added that Costner's device has proved effective at processing 128,000 barrels of water a day, which "can make a real difference to our spill response efforts."
How big of a difference?
The largest machines are designed to separate 200 gallons of oil from the water per minute. That's about 210,000 gallons of oil per day. The most recent estimates suggest that between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day are leaking out of the Deepwater Horizon well. A barrel of oil is 42 gallons. So, if we take the highest estimates, that's about 1,680,000 gallons of oil per day. That would take just eight of the OTC machines to clean up the new oil each day, not counting the petroleum that's already in the water.
Henry Fountain explains in the New York Times, the gadget in question marks a major breakthrough in spill cleanup technology. And BP, after trial runs with the device, is ordering 32 more of the Costner-endorsed centrifuges to aid the Gulf cleanup. Suttles said the additional machines will be used to build four new deep-water systems: on two barges and two 280-foot supply boats.
It's true, as Fountain notes in the Times, that innovation on spill technology has been hobbled in part by the reach of federal regulation — though Fountain also notes that oil companies have elected to devote comparatively little money for researching cleanup devices.
Then again, why would they, when 99% effective is not good enough?
Imagine if we held Government to the same standard…