Ferris wheels go up, and then they also come down. This is one of the down parts.
Today, a piece in the Wall Street Journal by Paul H. Rubin was the lever that got my wheel spinning...kind of like the one this guy is cranking.
Why is the Gulf cleanup so slow?
I am frustrated. I am just one voice out of millions who are. I used to think that stopping the leak should be priority, but I have given up hope for the spew to cease before this relief well is drilled in August. I suppose we all have to sit in our living rooms watching the gush continue in that little box on the corner of the screen on CNN until then. In the meantime, while we wait for August to get here, there's a huge black slick of oil floating off the shores of my state affecting livelihoods and ecosystems. Why are we on day 77?
Of course, this is a massive undertaking. A massive challenge that is sorely in need of top-down, command and control leadership. But that control should not prohibit local authorities from taking prudent measures to save their own coastlines. They are the foot-soldiers...the boots on the ground...the first line of defense. Receiving permission to act in the best interests of their regions should not require an act of Congress.
Rubin states, "Of the 2,000 skimmers in the U.S...only 400 have been sent to the Gulf. Federal barriers have kept the others on stations elsewhere in case of other oil spills, despite the magnitude of the current crisis. The Coast Guard and the EPA issued a joint temporary rule suspending the regulation on June 29—more than 70 days after the spill."
Well, it's about time.
That means we've been short 1,600 skimmers for 70 days. And plenty of offers of clean-up assistance from other countries that have been turned down based on the Jones Act, a 1920 law requiring that ships working in U.S. waters be operated by Americans. That law could be waived.
But it hasn't been.
(Ironically, it was just pointed out to me by one of my readers that the man in the ferris wheel picture above is wearing a hat called a "skimmer." I had no idea, but please pretend that I knew exactly what I was doing.)
My six-year-old daughter asked me, "Why can't everyone in the whole world go to clean up the oil? 'Cause then it would get done fast."
As sweet and naive as her thought is, she has a point. And if not everyone in the whole world, then how about just the folks (and countries) who are willing and able? Obviously, much more could be accomplished if hands were not tied for bureaucratic or political reasons.
NOW comes the part of the ride where the ferris wheel goes back up...
My dad recently took a trip to the Gulf and took this picture of an unusual cloud formation in the sky. Do you see what I (and many others) have seen?
It is the profile of a person praying. Head bowed, hands clasped, right shoulder and arm visible.
Praying over the Gulf...literally.
The picture speaks for itself.
Ride is over for today. Until next time,