Gulf Oil Spill Links

We’re working on a few angles to this story our readers probably haven’t seen, but we have every reason to stand by our story yesterday comparing the Gulf oil spill to Hurricane Katrina as a disastrous chance event made infinitely worse by stupid government policy.

In the meantime, the spill is getting worse, and the politics more toxic. The latest news on the Deepwater Horizon disaster is here:

President Obama is sending Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano to the scene, while pinning the responsibility for paying for the spill on BP – no surprise since the 1990 Oil Pollution Act forces oil companies to foot the bill for cleanup of spills. Napolitano blamed BP earlier today for not getting the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer for not shutting off the oil spill, though BP is saying that since the Deepwater Horizon was Transocean’s rig it’s the latter who’s actually responsible.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana’s coast, effective today. Meanwhile, Sen. David Vitter will meet with Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham, Ewell Smith with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board, and officials from the Coast Guard and BP to discuss the recovery and operations following last week’s oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.  Wildlife and seafood safety has long been an important issue to Vitter, and just last week he secured seafood safety provisions in the Senate Food Safety Bill.

“This tragic oil spill has reminded everyone about the valuable and connection between our wildlife, fisheries and coastline,” said Vitter.  “I look forward to discussing the progress of the cleanup efforts and recovery with these officials.”

Vitter has also sent a letter to Salazar, Admiral Thad Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko asking them to pay attention to the effect of the spill on Louisiana’s fisheries.

Initial estimates of 1,000 barrels a day coming out of the wellhead have now quintupled, as a second source for the spill was discovered. And the spill has been enlarging quickly, with winds now blowing the oil toward the Louisiana coast. An expected landfall by tomorrow night is now in effect.

Yesterday, the Coast Guard tried to test-burn some of the oil and said the burn was successful. But because the burn occurred late in the day, the test burn was all that could be done. Today, with higher winds and choppier seas, burning the slick is no longer feasible.

Which begs the question – why was the fire at the platform put out in the first place? It would have been easier to burn off the oil at the platform site than to attempt to burn a slick near the coastline. has obtained a copy of a document providing more detail as to the origin of the explosion – though a full explanation is still far from available.



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