"The Size of Puerto Rico"
A wild weird clime that lieth, sublime
out of space . . . out of time!
--"Dream-Land", Edgar Allen Poe
Why does this get to be on an anti-war site? Because Halliburton had just cemented the pipe on the ocean floor 20 hours before the explosion. Because Thad Allen is our new Condi Rice. Because the turnover rate on catastrophes and lies being fed the public are speeding up.
Today's WaPo quotes Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, appointed Saturday by Obama to lead the government's Admiral Allen was in charge of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina -- brilliant choice) :
"We're breaking new ground here. It's hard to write a plan for a catastrophic event that has no precedent, which is what this was," Allen said, defending the company against not writing a response for "what could never be in a plan, what you couldn't anticipate" (Pressure Grows for Action by BP.)
Thad Allen has been tapped to be our new Condoleeza Rice -- Who could have known?
But how can a drilling company NOT anticipate a blowout when drilling a mile into the seabed? Why are there blowout protectors if such an eventuality could not be anticipated?
NO. The facts are always seamier. This had to do with money, and the Wall Street Journal is the one who reported this fact (Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device):
"The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch [an acoustic switch] used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.
"[R]egulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil ... require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.
"The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness," according to the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, which overseeing offshore drilling.
Here are some more facts, from the AP today (Gulf Oil Spill Quickly Balloons, Could Move East):
conceded Saturday that it's nearly impossible to know how much oil has gushed since the April 20 rig explosion, after saying earlier it was at least 1.6 million gallons ..."
"Even at that rate, the spill should eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident as the worst U.S. oil disaster in history in a matter of weeks. But a growing number of experts warned that the situation may already be much worse."
--"The oil slick over the water's surface appeared to triple in size over the past two days, which could indicate an increase in the rate that oil is spewing from the well, according to one analysis of images collected from satellites and reviewed by the."
--Due to the rig's position "at the end of one branch of the Gulf Stream [the oil] ... would flow around the southern tip of Florida and up the eastern seaboard."
"It will be on theof Florida in almost no time," said Hans Graber, executive director of Miami University's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing."I don't think we can prevent that. It's more of a question of when rather than if."
--"As bad as the oil spill looks on the surface, it may be only half the problem, said University of California Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea, who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety.
"'There's an equal amount that could be subsurface too,' said Bea. And that oil below the surface 'is damn near impossible to track.'" The surface slick is currently the size of Puerto Rice.
--"Louisiana State University professor Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for oil spills, worries about a total collapse of the pipe inserted into the well. If that happens, there would be no warning and the resulting gusher could be even more devastating because regulating flow would then be impossible"
--"It is of grave concern," David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press about the spill. "I am frightened. This is a very, very big thing. And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."
--Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the nonprofit the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts.in Gulfport, Miss., said this is birthing season for the roughly 5,000 dolphins along the
"It's very bad timing," he said. "We're looking at a colossal tragedy."