According to one online poll, 70% of those surveyed think that BP is botching spill efforts and should be removed from the team handling the crisis.
Apparently that 70% doesn’t include the US Coast Guard, though.
In a quote attributed to Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen in a recent Associated Press article, Allen said, “To push BP out of the way would raise a question – to replace them with what?” Allen is heading up the federal response to the spill and was quoted during a White House briefing.
Apparently the Obama administration is facing criticism over its lack of control over the situation. But let’s examine a couple of facts:
- It’s unlikely that the Obama administration has ever tried to cap a gushing well in 5,000 ft (1,525 m) of water, because
- The oil industry has never tried to cap a gushing well in 5,000 ft of water.
The AP article’s take on BP’s latest attempt, a top kill, is that it’s “yet another technique never tested 5,000 feet under water.” Of course it’s never been tested. Nothing like this has ever happened before.
Allen’s comments were a response to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s statement over the weekend that the government would step in if it was determined that BP wasn’t pulling out all the stops. “If we find that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately,” the article quoted Salazar as saying. Allen’s take was, “That’s more of a metaphor.” He maintained that BP was doing everything in its power to stop the leak and that he was “satisfied with the coordination that’s going on.”
Seriously, I’m siding with the Coast Guard on this one. The sense amongst the lay public seems to be that nothing BP has tried has worked, which means they’re not trying hard enough. I challenge the world’s best petroleum and mechanical engineers to try something that BP hasn’t already tried. The company has been trotting out new ideas on a weekly basis to try to stop this mess before it can spread any farther, but it’s an engineering issue of massive proportions.
Meanwhile, as two relief wells are underway, BP is also considering injecting “junk” into the well and placing a new blowout preventer on top of the one that failed.
The crisis has reopened all of the not-yet-scabbing wounds between Republicans and Democrats, of course, with the Obama administration taking a disproportionate amount of blame for an accident it had nothing to do with. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that Obama was being “lax” in his response to the spill. White House spokeperson Robert Gibbs fired back stating that perhaps Palin needed her own blowout preventer.
At least they’re learning something about the industry.
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