“I’m hopeful that the reforms that the secretary and the administration are undertaking will resolve the flaws in the current system that I inherited,” Ms. Birnbaum said in a statement.
"Planning has begun for cementing the well, the next step in sealing it after the flow of oil and gas is stopped by the drilling mud, but that stage would not be undertaken for at least several hours."*
"Video of the spill site appeared to show mud, and not oil, flowing from the blown-out well, hours after BP started the operation, but BP urged caution in interpreting it. It wouldn’t be reasonable for anybody to draw a conclusion from that until we’ve killed the well for good,' BP managing director Bob Dudley told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira."*
One thing that might not be clear from watching the news: this isn't a matter of a dozen guys at BP and a PR team from the Obama administration. A "war room" full of industry experts from over 70 oil companies and drilling technology companies has been working on this problem night and day since the week of the explosion. If you count up the people from EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard assigned to this issue, the federal government has over 20,000 people involved. The response to this issue has been massive.
'Go, baby, go' might be the true origin of the phrase, but isn't 'burn, baby, burn' the more salient and culturally relevant association in most people's minds?
While Top Kill is proceeding, dear DKos Boomer, over the next few days or even weeks, I want to caution you regarding a few things.Seeing an increase in the leak doesn't mean Top Kill has failed.
Seeing the leak get smaller or even stop doesn't mean Top Kill has succeeded.
Both could easily mean the opposite.
Because this well is FUCT-O-DAC [Fucked up as a Christmas Turkey on the Day After Christmas].
Agency scientists and other employees complained that since taking the post in July, Ms. Birnbaum has done almost nothing to fix problems that have plagued the minerals agency for over a decade. She rarely visited the agency’s far-flung offices, so few staff members have ever seen her. The same agency managers who during the Bush administration ignored or suppressed scientists’ concerns about the safety and environmental risks of some off-shore drilling plans are still there doing the same things, they said.
Before she took the job at the minerals agency , Ms. Birnbaum, 52, had virtually no experience with the oil and gas industry, but that was seen as a plus, according to a top Interior Department official. She worked at the Interior Department in the last year two years of the Clinton administration on natural resource issues, leaving as an associate solicitor in 2001 to become a top lawyer and advocate for American Rivers, a conservation organization.
Ms. Birnbaum had never supervised more than a few dozen people, and the problems at the agency were daunting. A legal mistake that occurred during the Clinton administration and was ignored through much of the Bush administration may end up costing the federal government $10 billion in lost royalties owed by oil and gas companies from leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Investigations found that some employees at the minerals service literally got into bed with oil industry representatives, accepted lavish gifts from them and allowed companies to fill out their own inspection reports.
I seriously doubt Micheal Steele put that much thought into it. It probably just popped into his head without actually thinking about what he was referencing.
Symbolic cheering for self-destructive abandon in a dance club is one thing.
"It appears that BP and Transocean had multiple warnings before the rig exploded," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "We need to know why they didn't shut down the well while there was still time."
Even though pressure readings indicated "a very large abnormality," BP continued to replace drilling mud with seawater. That move, BP's team told the subcommittee's investigators, may have been a "fundamental mistake."
The memo also suggests that some cement work failed, including crucial components designed to hold back oil and gas and prevent an explosion.
The well was initially flowing at a rate of 30,000 barrels per day (1 barrel = 42 US gallons = 159 litres), which was reduced to around 10,000 bpd by attempts to plug the well. Two relief wells were drilled to relieve pressure and the well was eventually killed nine months later on 23 March 1980. Due to the massive contamination caused by the spill from the blowout (by 12 June, the oil slick measured 180km by 80km), nearly 500 aerial missions were flown, spraying dispersants over the water. Prevailing winds caused extensive damage along the US coast with the Texas coast suffering the greatest. The IXTOC I accident was the biggest single spill ever, with an estimated 3.5 million barrels of oil released.
Rachel Maddow on the 1979 Gulf Oil Spill.
"I've designated Admiral Thad Allen -– who has nearly four decades of experience responding to such disasters -– as the National Incident Commander, and if he orders BP to do something to respond to this disaster, they are legally bound to do it. So, for example, when they said they would drill one relief well to stem this leak we demanded a backup and ordered them to drill two. And they are in the process of drilling two....I already mentioned a second example, which is they wanted to drill one relief well. The experience has been that when you drill one relief well, potentially you keep on missing the mark. And so it's important to have two to maximize the speed and effectiveness of a relief well....I already mentioned a second example, which is they wanted to drill one relief well. The experience has been that when you drill one relief well, potentially you keep on missing the mark. And so it's important to have two to maximize the speed and effectiveness of a relief well.
Rachel was wrong about one thing. The Ixtoc well was not "in 200 feet of water." The well was at 3657m, more than 2-1/4 miles deep.
Just wait until we're completely tooled up for "clean" nuclear power, and there's the inevitable failure in the chain somewhere. This mess may be largely cleaned up in a decade or so, but swathes of land will be off limits for aeons after there's a runaway reaction in the bowels of a reactor somewhere.
Perhaps you saw news footage of President Obama in Grand Isle, La., on Friday and thought things didn't all that bad. Well, there may have been a reason for that: The town was evidently swarmed by an army of temp workers to spruce it up for the president and the national news crews following him.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP bused in "hundreds" of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said.
"The level of cleanup and cooperation we've gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today," Roberts said by telephone. "As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home."
But how many of those hours will be taken up by actual pumping and halting pumping for monitoring are unknown.
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