Auburn, Maine, company Packgen has miles of oil spill containment boom on hand and has the capacity to produce upwards of 100,000 additional feet of boom a day. That inventory and that capacity has been available to help the Gulf Coast states for nearly a month. The news of this company was reported here at PJM four days ago, on June 8.
The curious case of the lack of interest in Packgen’s boom gets curiouser and curiouser. Yesterday, ABC News had an interview with Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander in charge of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After a handful of questions about the flow of oil into the Gulf from the wellhead, the topic turned to mitigation of the spill. Here’s the exchange:
Jake Tapper, ABC: I talked to a guy who runs a company in Maine that offers boom, and he has — he says — the ability to make 90,000 feet of boom a day. High quality. BP came there 2 weeks ago, looked at it, they are doing another audit today. He is very frustrated, he says he has a lot of high quality boom to go and it is taking a long time for BP to get its act together. Don’t you need this boom right now?
Allen: Oh we need all the boom wherever we can get it. If you give me the information off camera I’ll be glad to follow up.
There was no need for the admiral to ask for the information from Jake Tapper. It’s contained in a letter that has been on the admiral’s desk since May 21st. The letter was also sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. Copies were sent to Governors Bob Riley, Charles Crist, Haley Barbour, and Bobby Jindal. The letter was signed by two U.S. senators.
It’s not hard to come by. Here’s a copy:
I interviewed Packgen owner John Lapoint at his facility in Auburn on Friday afternoon. BP today, once again, had representatives in the building to inspect his production line and his product, and to verify his assessment of his capacity to deliver more. BP is still not ready to commit to purchasing the oil boom, though.
Packgen’s boom not only passes every independent ASTM assessment, it’s apparently superior to the material currently being used in the Gulf. According to John Lapoint, it’s priced only slightly higher than oil boom that BP apparently normally purchases from places like China. And according to Packgen, boom manufactured in Auburn, Maine, on Monday can be onsite at the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. Boom from China normally has a lead time in months.
Packgen still has the 13 miles of ASTM certified floating oil containment boom, packed and palletized and ready to ship at a moment’s notice to the Gulf Coast.