This Is Supposed to Make Us Feel Better?

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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