Red Tape and Environmental Disasters Don’t Mix

Image by USFWS/Southeast

Red tape….you’re probably familiar with the term and may even have first-hand experience on the bureaucratic nightmare that accompanies it. But one thing is for sure, when it comes to environmental disasters, there is no room for red tape!

Unfortunately that is what the people that live in Gulf Coast cities and the eager volunteers have been dealing with when it comes to cleaning up the environmental nightmare that is the Gulf Coast oil “spill”. I’m not really sure what is being gained by all of the red tape, but it sure isn’t the preservation and protection of the environment, nor the animals and people that populate those areas.

Take for example the report from the Huffington Post that BP is turning away potential volunteers. Or another report from a former Gulf Coast oil cleanup volunteer who stated that the beach oil clean up efforts are all just for show: News

Luckily there are still individuals who are determined to help out…so, for those people here is a relatively simple summary of resources, guidelines and rules to follow if you want to help out in the Gulf Coast clean up efforts.

As far as major clean up efforts and the more important factor of stopping the well from continuing to gush oil into the already oil-drenched gulf, you’d think we were dealing with solving the origin of life as we know it.

Not surprisingly, a report from states “Cleanup technology not apace with spills“. Well, that’s pretty obvious considering the oil rig sunk over 2 months ago and the oil continues to flood into the Gulf.

One of the extremely frustrating factors is that there are technologies out there that can apparently get a much better handle on the clean up efforts….so, the real question is, why are they not in use? Simply put – red tape.

Take for example Kevin Costner’s company, even after they finally got the green light in mid-June to use their oil-spill device they had to wait on BP to fork over the money needed to buy the machines. And remember, we’re talking major celebrity with lots of media coverage here. What about smaller companies with viable solutions? Where are they left?

With hurricane season rolling in, flat out efforts should be made to cut down all the red tape and get the pipe plugged and the oil cleaned up. We’re talking a man-made environmental disaster of massive proportions here people! Red tape should be coming down like it’s going out of style.

It’s a sad state of affairs when local communities, such as Alabama’s own Magnolia Springs, get buried in red tape just trying to protect their own river from the Gulf oil spill.

Another example is The Earth Organization that has been hard at work to find companies that use non-genetically modified microorganisms for oil spill remediation. They believe that micro organism technology is the only real solution if we truly want to restore the Gulf Coast.

[See the EPA’s “A Citizen Guide to Bioremediation” for more information on bioremediation and micro organism technology]

And one big example of how destructive red tape can be is shown in the fact that The Earth Organization has found companies who not only have EPA approval on their technology, but they are already on the National Contingency Plan product schedule. Basically they were already given the green light from the EPA to use their products in case of a national oil spill emergency, but they aren’t being allowed to do so in Louisiana. Apparently they also need to be approved by the Department of Environment Quality in Louisiana as well….red tape.

When is all the red tape going to disappear so more viable solutions can be put into place that will curb the affects of this environmental disaster? How many more people and animals have to lose their lives? Do we have to wait until AFTER a hurricane or other natural disaster takes place to really see how bad the devastation can be?  Weigh in…I’d like to know where you stand. We don’t want images like this to forever haunt the life and legacy of the Gulf Coast.

Video by hccreekkeeper


  • Stephanie

    I’d like to see all the fingers that are being pointed this way and that to pass the blame for the environmental disaster in the Gulf be wrapped with the shredded remnants of all this red tape. 🙁


    This is maddening and hopefully a lesson learned so the next time history doesn’t repeat itself.

  • Ryan

    Unfortunately, the timeliness and scope of bureaucracy stifles the efforts of volunteers and disaster clean up companies when there is an extremely time sensitive issue at hand.

    Hopefully in the future, every level of the government will be able to communicate efficiently as to coordinate an effective effort promptly.

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