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Agriculture's Big Picture


AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.

The Simple Solution To the Oil Spill

May 24, 2010
One can't help but wonder why if the political posturing about the oil spill isn't more important to all involved than finding an actual answer to the problem. Already being compared the Katrina and the Obama Administration being compared to the Bush Admistration and its response to the Katrina Hurricane response, things don't look good at 1600 Pennsylvannia.  

The Obama (a Democrat) Administration says it’s going to take over the clean up of the Gulf oil spill if BP doesn't do something about it quickly. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (a Republican and likely candidate for President in 2012)says the state is not waiting on the Feds anymore and they’re doing their own clean up.
Maybe instead of making this into a political chess match and making it the first battle of the 2012 Presidential election, perhaps they need to call these guys who have a pretty good answer to clean up problem.

Or maybe that's too simple?

Meanwhile the Nikkei is Japan closed modestly lower overnight, the STOXX 50 in Europe is down more than 1% this morning.
The dollar continues to show strength against he Euro, but so far that has not been pressuring agriculture commodity prices.
The dollar is stronger because it’s deemed a safe bet as tensions mount over the disagreement in Korea.
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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

1:00 PM May 25th
Nope, it's not too simple, it's a solution that's already well known -- and what you apparently don't grok is the scale of this spill. We're talking about thousands of square miles. And clearly you aren't visualizing just how large an area that is. We can't even effectively get a barrier in place at the *edge* of those thousands of square miles, let alone have the boats & man hours to spread a bunch of hay all over the *surface* of those thousands of square miles.

Not even close.

What's more, if you just dump this hay onto the surface of the gulf, it's going to clump up, break up, spread into odd patterns and drifts -- not evenly disperse over the surface. To stop oil from reaching the shore, you'd have to somehow contain and deploy it in a line around which oil couldn't sneak.

Guess what? We've got that. We call them booms -- and we've tested every material imaginable for boom use. Turns out the natural materials don't do any better than what we're already using.

If we could magically conjure up 10,000,000 shrimp boats with 40,000,000 shrimpers to operate them, and however many ungodly tons of hay it'd take to equip them all, then sure. This'd be perfect.

But we can't. And it isn't.
8:55 AM May 24th
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