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June 18th, 2010
Coast Guard Orders Barges to Stop Sucking Oil

Louisiana  Gov. Bobby Jindal waited eight days for ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state's oil-soaked waters.

Yesterday, the Coast Guard against the governor's wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore. 

"The Coast Guard came and shut them down," Jindal said. "You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, 'Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'" 
 "It's the most frustrating thing," the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. "Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges."

Sixteen barges sat stationary on Thursday.   Barges that were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP's oil as recently as Tuesday.

 Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea and the only one that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

"These barges work. You've seen them work. You've seen them suck oil out of the water," said Jindal.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating...a mere saftey equipment inspection.  The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

Despite his frustration, Jindal does not have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard and attempts to reach the White House were lazily received.  Only after Jindal strenuously made his case, the barges finally got the go-ahead today to return to the Gulf and get back to work, after more than 24 hours of sitting idle.

"They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible," he said. But "every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer."

The Coast Guard's position; "We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.





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