Wednesday, March 8, 2017

(Repost from 2010) Delay in calling spill of 'national significance', other fumbles (part one of oil spill comm report)

The following article originally ran on, Oct. 7, 2010
In its report issued yesterday (Oct. 6, 2010), the Oil Spill Commission cites numerous problems on the part of the US government when handling the crisis that evolved from the April 20 blowout of the Macondo well, including unnecessary delays, inter-agency mismanagement and possible incorrect use of containment methods.
For purposes of brevity, herewith are highlights from the first half of the report, with part two to follow tomorrow:
* The response was supervised at a national level by a National Incident Commander. On April 29, 2010, the Coast Guard designated the disaster a "Spill of National Significance," and brought in retired Admiral Thad Allen of the US Coast Guard.
* "Though some of the command structure was put in place very quickly, in other respects the mobilization of resources to combat the spill seemed to lag. For about nine days, Deepwater Horizon response efforts continued with the Federal On-Scene Coordinator at the top of the command structure. National Leaders such as Dep. Secretary of the Interior David Hayes were innvolved, but the response was still largely regional in nature--the President had not been to the region, Cabinet secretaries had not yet become involved, and the responders were from the local area," it says in the report.
* Conversations regarding a spill of "national significance" actually first occurred, though, in the first week of the spill -- even though Allen was not brought in for 10 days.
* Dispersant use in the Gulf was questioned by the media, and about that time EPA administrator Lisa Jackson took over the role of overseeing dispersant use, with the federal on-scene coordinator (Paul Zukunft) and Regional Response Teams losing control of this responsibility. The Regional Response Teams are composed of regional representatives from state and local government. The US Coast Guard leads the Regional Response Teams during responses to oil spills in the coastal waters. Tomorrow, part two--including BP's role and an analysis of booms and berms.
*** PHOTOS: TOP: From Wikimedia Commons Images, A C-130 Hercules from the Air Force Reserve Command's 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station, Ohio, drops an oil-dispersing chemical into the Gulf of Mexico May 5, 2010, as part of the Deepwater Horizon Response effort. The 910th AW specializes in aerial spray and is the Department of Defense's only large-area, fixed-wing aerial spray unit. Source: US Air Force public affairs story direct link; Author: Technical Sergeant Adrian Cadiz; BOTTOM: former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, by Laurie Wiegler, New Orleans, April, 2011.

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