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US Turns Down Offers of Assistance with Oil Spill

by: M.Thornley

(NaturalNews) The US has received offers of assistance with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from as many as 13 countries. Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United Nations have all offered their resources. But the US State Department has said no thanks.

These offers have come from experts in oil spill impact knowledgeable in research and technical expertise related to booms, chemical oil dispersants, oil pumps, skimmers and wildlife rescue.
But the Obama administration's response has been: Thanks but no thanks. We've got it covered.

Two Dutch companies stand ready to wade in and help the Americans with the oil slick. They have huge booms that suck oil from the sea surface. These are called skimmers.

Americans don't use skimmers because of environmental regulations. The skimmers suck up sea water along with the oil. This is stored in a tanker where the water is separated and pumped overboard. There is some oil residue; too much for US environmental regulations.

However, the Dutch experts argue it is important to prevent the oil from reaching the marshes and mud flats. Their method contains the bulk of the oil, and little of it is returned in the pumped water.

Hans Revier, a lecturer in Marine Wetland Studies at Stenden College in Leeuwarden, described experiments conducted in the Dutch Wadden Sea wetlands. Revier insists Americans have no choice. Only the Dutch method will save the mud flats and salt marches along the coast.

Four skimmers, extra materials, and a team of eight are ready to be loaded and flown to the Gulf once approval is granted.

In 1989, a Dutch team was ready to assist with the Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster off the coast of Alaska too – but the US authorities sent them packing.

A Belgian group named DEME claims it could clean the spill in three to four months compared to the nine months it will take the US. Dutch companies DEME and De Nul possess specialty ships the US does not have. But, a Dutch news site De Standaard reports, the Jones Act prevents other countries from working on the oil spill.

The Jones Act is part of a US Federal statute intended to regulate maritime commerce in US waters. The Jones Act addresses coastal shipping, and requires that all goods transported by water between US ports be in ships built in the US, owned by Americans, and crewed by US citizens and permanent residents. The Jones Act may have prevented a quicker response to the oil spill.

The US government could grant a waiver of the Jones Act. This option exists in the event of national emergencies or cases of strategic interest.

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