Federal officials speaking about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Sunday morning appeared to be steeling the Louisiana coast – and the nation – for consequences that could be “catastrophic.”
The officials, who run the agencies charged with mitigating the impact of the spill on America’s Gulf coast, used unusually stark words to describe the situation and the difficulties of the remedy.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said it was the federal government’s job to “keep the boot on the neck of BP,” which is running the cleanup effort.
Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen called the bid to shut down a wellhead spewing at least 210,000 gallons of oil a day from nearly a mile beneath the ocean surface “one of the most complex things we’ve every done.”
He went on to say that, in a worst-case scenario, the well could vent 4.2 million gallons of oil into the Gulf daily. Currently, a crumpled “riser” pipe is preventing the full flow of oil – like a kinked garden hose – though reports suggest it is gradually deteriorating.
Four million gallons a day for ninety days would be equal to roughly 45 Exxon Valdez spills. I fail to see how BP continues to exist as a corporation. And they should be destroyed:
BP, the company that owned the Louisiana oil rig that exploded last week, spent years battling federal regulators over how many layers of safeguards would be needed to prevent a deepwater well from this type of accident.***
But according to aides to Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who has followed offshore drilling issues for years, the industry aggressively lobbied against an additional layer of protection known as an “acoustic system,” saying it was too costly. In a March 2003 report, the agency reversed course, and said that layer of protection was no longer needed.
“There was a big debate under the Bush administration whether or not to require additional oil drilling safeguards but [federal regulators] decided not to require any additional mandatory safeguards, believing the industry would be motivated to do it themselves,” Carl Pope, Chairman of the Sierra Club told ABC News.
Is anyone else noticing a trend here? Decades of onlsaught by Republicans (and many Democrats, as well) and business friendly interests have led to the complete inability or unwillingness of government to regulate our food safety, our water, our financial markets, our mines, and now, tragically, our offshore drilling programs. And in every case, defanging the regulators has led to expensive disasters. All so a select few can make more and more money.