Saturday, June 26, 2010

CRASH: The Marvel Of Markets v. The Insanity Of Government

Two stories today (at least) provide all the information needed for anyone with a brain to understand how wonderfully well markets work, and the astoundingly perverse consequences of government regulation.

 First up, a ship called A Whale.  (h/t Patterico).

No doubt motivated by PROFIT, and totally on spec (without even any assurance they will be allowed to employ their vessel) entrepreneurial people (foreign devils, in this case) have spent fairly huge sums to invent, innovate, move, and out-fit a large tanker (re-cycling in the process on a massive scale) to come to the aid of our Gulf Coast.  The vessel would be the largest of its kind in the Gulf, and capable of skimming 500 thousand bbls of oiled water a day.  BUT...
Environmental Protection Agency approval is required because some of the seawater returned to the Gulf would have traces of oil.
gulf_oil_skimmer_a_whale_vents.jpgView full sizeThe 'A Whale' skimmer designed to collect up to 500,000 barrels of oily water a day through 12 vents on either side of its bow.
The Coast Guard, which has received more than 2,000 cleanup proposals, said the supertanker skimmer had survived a preliminary review and was being studied further.
Capt. Ron LaBrec said that initial review involves a number of government agencies, including the EPA.
One question, he said, is: "Will a large vessel like this be able to operate this in this kind of area?"
If the ship passes the additional review, its owners could then negotiate terms with BP. He could not provide an estimated timetable for the review would be completed.
The company said it also needs a waiver of the 1920 Jones Act, which limits the activities of foreign-flagged ships in coastal U.S. waters. The A Whale is Liberian-flagged vessel.
So, we have people from all over the globe, investing their money in hopes of making more, ready, willing, and able to come to our aid with technology both old and new.  And the primary impediment is our government, with its perverse incentives.

Second; centrifuges work! (Duh)

Centrifuges are used to separate things with different physical characteristics, mostly their specific gravity.  They've been doing that for the longest, and it isn't exactly rocket science.  Still, apparently the Costner centrifuge DOES present some novel features...which work!

Again, a story of people investing their money, their genius, and their life to bring the world something that works...and expecting to be paid for it.  They succeed, and produce a boon to mankind.  BUT...
One obstacle, he said, was that although his machines are effective, the water they discharge is still more contaminated than environmental regulations allow. He could not get spill-response companies interested in his machines, he said, without a federal stamp of approval.
Research is hampered in other ways. For example, there is only one place in the United States — a center in New Jersey operated by the Minerals Management Service — where cleanup technologies can be tested, at full scale, on spilled oil. Other countries, notably Norway and Canada, allow occasional testing involving intentional spills into the environment, although only after an exhaustive permitting process.
In the United States, just obtaining oil for use in small-scale laboratory research can be extremely difficult, said Scott Pegau, research program director of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute, a research center established in Cordova, Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez spill. Mr. Pegau said it recently took him months to obtain less than a gallon of crude.
  Again, the technology does not...cannot...assure that ALL taint of ANY petroleum fraction will be NONE of it gets removed.

And, please observe, leadership from the Obami would look like this: "Unless you can make a case for allowing oil to hit our coastline, I will expect your agency to waive any red tape during this crisis".  See how simple leadership would be...if Obama really wanted an effective response?


  1. Bureaucracy is the antithesis of leadership. These creeps love it because it goves them more power without the responsibility.

    I would guess that the One doesn't want to give an effective response. He would rather use the crisis (per Rahm) to further consolidate power to the statists.

  2. Your conclusion seems inescapable, given how easy it would be to effectively clean the mess up...especially since there was SUPPOSED to be a plan for that waiting.

    There really isn't another explanation. Even an incompetent boob could manage this...

    Which leaves us a malevolent boob.

  3. I actually think he's hoping to deflect the blame to BP and use that to further his eco-agenda.

    His poll numbers would seem to indicate that it's working.

  4. The polls I'm seeing seem to indicate that...appropriately...this is costing him.

    But we know he's willing to burn political capital to get to his goals.