Federal Government Unprepared for Disasters
Letter to the Editor:
Our federal government under two administrations has dropped the ball with a major regional problem and unfortunately the Gulf oil spill debacle succeeded the hurricane Katrina debacle in the same region of the country. Where are FEMA and other government agencies when these problems occur?
The Gulf oil spill started on April 20, 2010. Louisiana asked for federal assistance within a few days, but the federal government did not start recognizing the seriousness of the problem until May 1, 2010. In late April, Louisiana asked the federal government (Army Corps of Engineers) for dredges to build protective sand berms on the coastline, but permission to build the berms was not provided until early June, which was too late to protect the coastline.
Approximately 150 boats equipped with oil skimmers are trying to siphon off the oil from the surface of the Gulf, but a thousand additional boats could be needed. Why isn't the federal government demanding BP hire and outfit with skimmers additional boats that are available in the Gulf of Mexico? Why doesn't the federal government make Navy and Coast Guard boats available? I believe they could be equipped with skimming equipment.
Someone mentioned the need to have large tankers on site to help suction up the surface oil. Why wasn't BP required to provide the tankers? The U.S. merchant marine has ships on call for emergencies. The U.S. Navy has oilers (tankers).
Talks by President Obama, visits to the Gulf beaches by the administration, meetings with BP, restitution by BP, and the eventual cleanup of the ecological disaster will not stop the flow of oil from the leaking well. With all of our technology why haven't we been able to figure out how to stop/contain the leak?
And why were oil companies allowed to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico without the installation of emergency remote control shut off systems? The systems are currently employed on foreign deep water oil wells.
The federal government, with all of its resources, continues to be unprepared to respond to and manage the resolution of major regional disasters.
Donald A. Moskowitz