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Coast Guard seeking new ideas on dealing with oil disaster

From Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Workers clear Pensacola Beach in Florida as oil residue washes up on shore Monday.
Workers clear Pensacola Beach in Florida as oil residue washes up on shore Monday.
  • Coast Guard wants ideas separate from those offered to BP
  • Officer says "some feedback" shows BP not responding to ideas being offered
  • Ideas will be studied by new panel of experts

Washington (CNN) -- The Coast Guard has started an initiative separate from BP to seek the best ideas that industry, universities, researchers, scientists and the public have to offer to try to contain the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard has published details of its efforts to solicit ideas to show the public it wants to hear from them separately from any ideas submitted to the oil giant.

"Our intent is to provide a process totally divorced from BP," Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil said. He said there had been "some feedback" from the public that BP was not responding to ideas being offered, but he did not have any details.

The Coast Guard specifically wants the best ideas for improving the response and detection of oil spills, control of oil wellheads, how to deal with submerged oil spills, traditional and alternative oil spill technologies, and assessment of oil spills and environmental restoration.

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The ideas will be looked at by the Coast Guard and a new panel of experts known as the Interagency Alternative Technology Assessment Program working group. That group includes experts from the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Departments of Interior and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

O'Neil says the submissions will be screened and put into three categories: those with the potential to immediately help the current oil spill response effort, those that need more evaluation by government experts and those that cannot be of help.

One of the benefits of the entire effort may be a better understanding of whether technologies to respond to oil spills have kept up with offshore oil drilling and production technology.

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