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What Could Go Wrong…

Gulf Gusher symbolOh, yeah, having Dick Cheney, the recent CEO of Halliburton, in charge of US energy policy, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, taking their lead from the White House, the Minerals Management Service “streamlined” the permitting process for drilling, according to this Washington Post report via CBS: BP Gulf Drilling Got “Rubber Stamp”

(Washingtonpost.com) The Interior Department exempted BP’s calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.

The decision by the department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 — and BP’s lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions — show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.

While the MMS assessed the environmental impact of drilling in the central and western Gulf of Mexico on three occasions in 2007 — including a specific evaluation of BP’s Lease 206 at Deepwater Horizon — in each case it played down the prospect of a major blowout.

In one assessment, the agency estimated that “a large oil spill” from a platform would not exceed a total of 1,500 barrels and that a “deepwater spill,” occurring “offshore of the inner Continental shelf,” would not reach the coast. In another assessment, it defined the most likely large spill as totaling 4,600 barrels and forecast that it would largely dissipate within 10 days and would be unlikely to make landfall.

“They never did an analysis that took into account what turns out to be the very real possibility of a serious spill,” said Holly Doremus, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has reviewed the documents.

According to the Hedgemony’s MMS appointees, there was no point in doing an environmental impact study, because a blowout wasn’t possible. The gusher has been spewing 5,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf every day. The only reason it isn’t worse is because the pipe was crimped when the drilling platform sank.


1 Suzan { 05.05.10 at 6:09 pm }

Come onnnnnnnnn.

The only reason it’s not worse (could it be worse?) is that they hadn’t thought of how to make it worse – yet.

Give them time.

Thanks for covering this, friends!


The only reason it isn’t worse is because the pipe was crimped when the drilling platform sank.

Government by the unconcerned (for anything except their short-term profits).

.-= last blog ..The Long-Term Plan Has Borne Its Fruits (Your Doom) =-.

2 Bryan { 05.05.10 at 7:27 pm }

Oh, it can get worse, and very quickly. The entire well head could blow out, meaning that they would have to secure a new one in place while a much larger outlet was open, or the crimped pipe could fail because of all of the abrasive grit in the oil that is pouring out. There are a lot of ways this can get worse.

We are coming into hurricane season, and if they don’t have it sealed, a storm could sweep away all of the temporary checks on the flow.

I live on the northern Gulf Coast, so this is self preservation. No one I know, and I know a lot of people who voted for the Shrubbery twice, wants drilling anywhere near us because of exactly what has happened.