Let me just quote a bit
The A-Whale bills itself as the largest open-water oil skimmer in the world, and it’s at least very impressive. Originally an oil and ore tanker, the ship’s owners recently refitted the ship to do exactly the kind of work that the US so desperately needs in the Gulf of Mexico, and to do it on a vastly larger scale than current operations can handle. According to the ship’s project manager, the entire American effort in 66 days has skimmed off 600,000 barrels of oil. The ship’s owners claim that A-Whale can skim 500,000 barrels a day.
Why isn’t it skimming oil? Because it doesn’t skim all of the oil so the outflow doesn’t meet EPA regulatory requirements, among other regulatory hurdles. But hey, what matters is making sure private interests don’t cut any corners. Why, that might end up with some oil in the water of the Gulf of Mexico! Can’t have that. Good thing our federal government is keeping those corners in full operation.