I've been hearing about the U.S. government's rebuffing offers of foreign help to clean up the Gulf, but mostly in the context of the Jones Act problems. And there were those stories about stopping boats from laying out booms because they didn't have enough fire extinguishers or lifejackets, or about stopping the building of sand berms because of the possible impact on fish.
Now Instapundit has linked to an article in the Financial Post that shows the stupidity has reached hitherto-unguessed levels. Our environmental laws treat a skimmer ship as if it were a factory discharging wastewater:
Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour," Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill. . . .the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge.
. . . .Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.
It turns out that American skimmers have to suck up the dirty water and transport it back to port for later disposal, which severely limits their daily capacity.
Someone might almost think they want this to go badly.