Fox & Friends runs with attack on gov't for not yet buying company's untested oil boom

Fox & Friends attacked the Obama administration for not immediately purchasing a manufacturer's oil containment boom. However, the company has not previously manufactured oil boom, their product reportedly “differs from other designs being used,” and BP has reportedly “ordered a trial run” of the boom before committing to purchase it.

Fox attacks gov't “Red Tape” for supposedly preventing purchase of boom

Fox & Friends hosts criticize gov't because they “may be in the dark about” company. On June 10, Fox & Friends hosted Packgen president John Lapoint to discuss the oil containment boom his company has produced for the BP oil spill. During the interview, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked, “What's the reaction been when you called the state and federal government and told them you're ready for action?” After Lapoint explained that “no one can buy our boom unless we get the approval from BP,” guest-host Alyson Camerota responded, “Oh, brother.” She later asked, “What's taking BP so long to authorize the green light?” Also during the segment Kilmeade asserted: “We know about you, and the federal government seems to be in the dark about you. Maybe BP's on the fence about you, but the governors get it.”

Fox on-screen text: “Maine Factory Owner Begs Feds: Red Tape Puts Hold on Company's Boom Making.” During the segment, Fox aired onscreen text blaming the administration for the boom not yet being purchased. For example, one on-screen text message read, “Red tape puts hold on company's boom making”:

Later during the segment, the on-screen text read “Packgen has supplies for spill, but ignored”:

Report: Packgen has not previously manufactured boom

Packgen reportedly began manufacturing boom after the oil spill began. The Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal reported May 19 that Packgen, a Maine company that “makes composite packaging used to contain environmental and hazardous waste,” hoped to “capitalize on the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by churning out a much-sought-after oil containment tool known as a boom.” The article quoted Packgen's president as saying they were “still pitching (to buyers),” and reported that BP had “sent up a company auditor to check out Packgen.”

Packgen continued manufacturing 35,000 feet per day, despite not having a buyer. The Sun Journal also reported on June 3 that Packgen was “producing 35,000 feet of boom per day” and that it was still anticipating BP's response. From the article:

John Lapoint III, president of Packgen, said he had doubled his average work force last week and had 60 workers on the floor producing 35,000 feet of boom per day. But he has exhausted his resources and can't afford to keep up production until he gets someone to buy his product. He's back down to about 30 employees.

“We want to get our boom out there,” he said to [Sen. Olympia] Snowe [R-ME], adding that he sent a couple of employees to the oil spill region to get a better idea about conditions on the ground. He was told contractors working to clean up the spill wanted to buy his boom, but because it's not BP-approved, they would not get reimbursed for buying it.

That could soon change.

“Literally, as we are sitting here, we are firing off the updated specification and we hope to hear back from BP either later (on Wednesday) or (Thursday) at the latest,” Lapoint said.

He said he was told by a BP official that approval could take an hour, a day or weeks.

Packgen boom reportedly “differs from other designs being used”

WCSH6 reported that BP “ordered a trial run” of the product, which “differs from other designs being used.” Maine news station WCSH6 reported June 3 that BP “has ordered a trial run of the product but there is no word of when or if the design will be approved.” The article also reported, “It differs from other designs being used because, according to company officials, it creates a tighter seal between pieces preventing oil from leaking past the barrier

Fox & Friends only the latest outlet to use the untested boom to attack the administration

Hoft, Allahpundit also criticized the gov't for not immediately purchasing untested product. In a June 8 post on Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft wrote that "[t]here are miles of floating oil containment boom in warehouse right now and the manufacturer Packgen says it can make lots more on short notice. There's just one problem... No one will come get it" [emphasis in original]. Hoft also wrote: “It didn't have to be this way. Our southern shores could have been spared. If Barack Obama really wants to find some ass to kick. It may be his own,” and compared the situation to the criticism then-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin received during Hurricane Katrina for not using school buses to transport people out of the city. Likewise, Hot Air's Allahpundit suggested in a June 8 post that government “red tape” could be at fault for not approving the boom's purchase and said that if the product works, then “Jim Hoft's Katrina school-bus comparison is going to be awfully popular awfully soon.”