Maine factory owner begs feds: Why aren't you buying the oil barriers I'm churning out?

He figured there’d be a demand so he started cranking out a supply, and … crickets.

He’s already had a representative from BP visit his factory and inspect his product. The governor of Maine, John Baldacci, visited the facility and made a video plea to no one in particular to close the deal. Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins wrote a letter on May 21 to the secretary of the Interior, the administrator of NOAA, and the commandant of the Coast Guard to alert them to the existence of Packgen, their supply of boom, and their demonstrated capacity to make more. I have no idea if those are the correct persons and agencies to notify about the manufacturing capacity and the availability of boom. One wonders if the senators know…

The ASTM specifications for containment boom aren’t rocket science, and Lapoint’s business was used to dealing with that sort of thing. So Lapoint took a chance and started manufacturing oil boom, figuring that Packgen would be able to sell it to help in the containment and cleanup effort. He added shifts and employees, and started cranking out the oil boom right away. It was a big financial risk — and he knew that — but he also figured that in an emergency of that magnitude, you had to act quickly, and figured that BP and the federal government would have to act quickly as well, and every single foot of boom he could make would be useful and in immediate demand.

He figured wrong.

Watch the clip (both clips, actually). Lapointe seems to be under the impression that he’s stuck waiting for BP to approve a purchase, but that can’t be true, can it? Surely the feds can step in and buy as much boom as they want. They’re still the ones in charge of protecting the coastline, aren’t they? Or has Kickass now farmed out that task to a guy he won’t even talk to on the phone? Remember, Jindal was demanding millions of feet of boom just a week or so after the rig exploded and, as of May 24, was still millions of feet short. I sure hope we’re going to find out tomorrow that Packgen’s material simply isn’t equal to the task and needs to be rejected, because if it turns out this is purely a matter of red tape — and if BP’s new claim that it’s ready to capture “virtually all” of the remaining oil doesn’t pan out — then Jim Hoft’s Katrina school-bus comparison is going to be awfully popular awfully soon.