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.
As John points out, at maximum flow this could end up being the equivalent of 45 Exxon Valdez disasters. Inexcusable and heart-wrenching and criminal.
And I wish the president had held fast on his position against offshore drilling, rather than conceding to the myopic chants for drilling (various reasons for the concession, I know, but the awful timing and negative political impact make this topic especially rough). That, of course, is secondary to the tragic consequences of our addiction to oil and our decades-long commitment to deregulating the worst of the worst corporations.