This Is Supposed to Make Us Feel Better?

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Follow Kate Sheppard, Mac McClelland, and Julia Whitty on Twitter for the latest updates on the explosion.

With news of yet another oil rig exploding breaking this morning, an admission from the federal incident commander that the response to the BP disaster may have been bungled is not at all reassuring. The Press-Register reports:

In hindsight, if BP had removed the 5,000-foot-long tangle of riser pipe from its damaged Gulf well in the early days of the spill, a new blowout preventer or cap could have been installed, shutting down the well perhaps within weeks instead of months, according to both the federal incident commander and petroleum engineers.

“I think that is one thing we will look at,” retired U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said during a recent interview with the Press-Register editorial board. “Obviously what finally worked was cutting the riser pipe. … If we had elected to cut the riser pipe we might have been able to do it much quicker.”

The piece continues:

In the recent interview, Allen said the federal government and BP decided not to cut the riser off, instead adopting “the doctor’s policy of first do no harm.”

“The new BOP would have required cutting the riser off and going to an uncontrolled flow,” Allen said. “BP’s position, concurred by our science team, was to take the most low-risk option. We could have assumed a more aggressive course.”

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. But thinking back on those weeks of fumbling after April 20—domes, top-hats, junk shots, and top-kills—it’s a bit alarming to learn that BP nixed what could have been the best, fastest solution. We know why, of course; the federal government was clearly no better prepared for this kind of worst-case scenario. But now that exploding rigs and other disasters are apparently commonplace, let’s hope lessons have been learned.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate