June 9th, 2010
08:48 PM ET
13 years ago

'That dog doesn't hunt,' Dem says of oil cleanup technology

Washington (CNN) – A Louisiana lawmaker expressed frustration Wednesday about the schism that has been revealed between the advanced technology used to drill for oil and gas and the less advanced technology available to clean up an oil spill.

“Part of the frustration I have not only with our government but with the oil industry is they are drilling with 21st century technology and we’re trying to clean up with 20th century technology,” Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana, said on CNN’s John King, USA. “That dog doesn’t hunt. We should have the best.”

Melancon also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that in the wake of the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989 the federal government probably should have had a commission look into new technology for cleaning up oil spills. The Democrat imagined the development of something like the fire extinguishers many Americans have in their kitchens that could be quickly deployed in the wake of a massive oil release like the one caused by the out of control well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. “That’s not been done,” Melancon told King.

Coast Guard officials in charge of the response effort do not dispute that much of the effort involves older equipment and technology.

But they also say they are rushing to add new approaches to the mix, including Dutch skimming arms that arrived in recent days. Also new on the scene: "current busters" from Norway which can skim oil at speeds of up to 4 knots.

Most vessels must travel much more slowly, at .7 to 1 knot.

"We are trying to bring in the most advanced technology we can," Coast Guard Capt. Roger Laferriere told CNN Wednesday.

Melancon's remarks are not the first time the lawmaker has spoken out about the oil spill that is impacting areas within his congressional district.

Melancon has previously suggested that BP CEO Tony Hayward should return to the United Kingdom after the energy executive made remarks that Melancon considered insensitive and flippant. Hayward apologized but Melancon said the apology was not enough in his view.

And at a congressional hearing late last month about the Gulf oil spill, Melancon became emotional, broke down, was unable to continue reading his prepared remarks and had to excuse himself from the committee hearing room.

Updated: 10:08 p.m.

Filed under: Charlie Melancon • Energy • JKUSA • John King USA • Louisiana
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. That dog

    just silly

    all this posturing

    waste of money and time

    BP will delay delay delay any pay out to the victims


    June 9, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. John

    Is not this the woman who was FIRED as CEO of Hewlett Packard? Why would anyone vote for her?

    June 9, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    I have to agree with Representative Melancon. The petroleum industry itself should be held accountable for the lack of developed cleanup technology. They have been the most financially successful industry in history and yet they have not provided for the development of technologies to address the predictable disasters inherent in their production processing? There is no excuse. I hope they step up to the plate and fix this situation on their own. That would be one appropriate response to this disaster. We will see.

    June 9, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. thor

    It's kinda funny that these politicians that have been in office for years and have said nothing now are experts as to what we need to do now.It's not like the safety issues haven't been around or that we haven't kept up to date with the latest technology.It's mostly people not doing their darn jobs and that includes politicans."That dog doesn't hunt.""We should have the best" I agree!!!!

    June 9, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The oil companies never anticipate the spill that could happen. They also figure that they can get away with the minimum to do to clean up the mess. I don't think that they really care. It would cut into the billion dollar profits that they have been making over the past few quarters.

    June 9, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Don't worry Louisiana...Governor Bobby Jindal has it all under control. No need for socialist communist nazi federal money to help the people of the Bayou State. Has he called Sarah Palin for advice yet?? Where is the outrage that he has not done so yet??

    June 9, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  7. k

    You can tell it is an election year. Getting a chuckle out of all these politicians opinions when they don't even know all of the facts. Oh yes, that goes for the MEDIA too. This should be done that should be done and most of the above just want to hear themselves. The media on all stations is sounding more and more like FOX everyday, and that isn't a compliment.

    June 9, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    This good Ol boy can use all the silly phrases he wants but the bottomline is his state has pushed for more and more exploration off shore. As a Congressman he had the ability to strengthen the approval policies and the laws governing the oil industry but never did.
    Then let's talk about all the illegal fishermen in Lousiana that openly admit to not having filed tax returns or paying taxes yet expect the government to help them in their loss of income.
    Where has the Congress men been in getting this industry to pay thier fiair share of taxes?
    Sounds like he's been out "huntin" a bit too much and not doing his job.
    By the way- I am a Democrat- but sick of people complaining that don't do their part of the job.

    June 9, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The oil spills in our backyard now, these big oil countries for years have created massive amounts of destruction and disasters in foreign countries that they have never cleaned up and we knew it then and said nothing while we profited. They have destroyed foreign countries echo system causing the death of people from unnatural causes as a result of contaminated soil, water and food while nobody cared.

    June 9, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  10. Biased

    What is wrong with all the technologies that people are showing on TV? I saw demonstrations of people adding plain hay to water and it absorbs 80% of its own weight in oil? I saw a man lay a piece of material treated with something on the water and it soaked it all up. I saw a demonstration of other products yet it seems these appear too simple. There was another product seen that made the oil ball up that my other half and I both said would be perfect for the marshes. There are all kinds of simple solutions being demonstrated by some daily on TV so what is wrong with all kinds of solutions other than fancy boats out there skimming it up?

    June 9, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Jim

    If this oil spill doesn't get cleaned up in the long run, BP's Hayward isn't going to make it to the men's room.

    June 9, 2010 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  12. Jack

    You can bet, if the Exon Valdez debacle had happened off the New England coast, there would not only be advanced clean up technology but enforced regulations and perhaps no need for a Deep Water Horizon cleanup.

    June 9, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  13. TCM

    ".....Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?..." guys like you are brave...behind the tailcoats of the likes of Nancy....eh, boy?

    June 9, 2010 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. phoenix86

    21st Century drilling technology.
    20th Century cleanup technology
    1st Century government reaction.

    All in all, I prefer the BP approach. At least they are trying.

    June 10, 2010 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  15. Dixon

    I agree we need modern technology to clean this mess up. However, why should the governement responsible for that? BP and others drilling for oil anywhere should be using some of those huge profits to be ready for this kind of thing. I keep hearing people are not happy with the government response, but I never hear what could be done. More politics, just like Katrina. I know it is comparing apples to oranges, but the same political non-sense we have come to expect.

    June 10, 2010 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  16. Karine

    Obama and his administration have been negligent by not seeking assistance from the international community sooner.
    Norway has an excellent reputation in oil spill response and so have many other oil producing countries.
    Obama has proven everybody right who had questioned his leadership skills and lack of executive decision making before becoming President.
    It has been appalling to see him on the golf course , attending fundraisers and having sing-a -longs at the White House while the South has been hit with such a tragic catastrophe .

    June 10, 2010 02:02 am at 2:02 am |