Coast Guard shuts down oil-skimming barges due to ... lack of life vests onboard

Bureaucracy fever — catch it!

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”…

[T]he Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges…

“They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible,” [Jindal] said. But “every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer.”

The barges are now back to work thanks to Jindal pounding the table, but follow the link and read the whole piece. This is by no means an isolated incident: Alabama’s governor is running into the same problems thanks to the alphabet soup of federal agencies attempting to govern the clean-up by committee. If you wanted to know why an oil-spill czar was needed, this is why — because the red tape is so thick, the only way to possibly cut through it is to, er, add a little bit more red tape and bind up all the loose ends under the authority of a single officer. How lucky do you feel?

Very much worth three minutes of your time: Jindal and the locals do what little they can to turn back the thick black tide.