Allen to BP: Where’s the New Plan?

Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the Gulf disaster, sent a letter to BP’s chief managing director last night demanding an “updated and detailed” timeline and plan for capping the gushing well.

Earlier this week, BP said it is pushing to cap the Gulf gusher by July 27, which also happens to be the day the company is expected to report its second-quarter earnings to shareholders. But there are still a number of concerns about the company’s ability to meet its latest goal.

BP is going to attempt to put in place a new cap, one that is expected to capture more oil from the well. But there’s a risk that the removal of the current cap might yet again unleash the full flow into the Gulf. Allen wants more information on that plan, as well as the contingency plan should that fail. He also asks for details about how bad weather in the Gulf might impact those plans. He also wants an updated completion date for the relief wells, the only option for actually sealing off the well at this point. The first relief well is supposed to be completed by mid-August.

Last month, Allen said the federal government had directed BP to capture at least 90 percent of the flow of oil from the cap by mid-July, which is of course upon us.

Here’s Allen’s latest letter.


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.