UPDATE (4:20 pm) – Call run by Denis McDonough, with Commandant Thad Allen (the go-to guy after Hurricane Katrina), and John Brennan notes: Tweets here. Thad Allen said the history making BP oil spill in the Gulf began with a “catastrophic explosion.” Goal is to 1) “stop this thing at the source; extensive pressure on BP; 2) attack oil on the sea; 3) protect resources; 4) recover and mitigate what happens in the area. Thad Allen: “impossible” to ascertain how much oil being released, from 1,000 – 5,000 gallons, but it doesn’t matter if the source leak cannot be stopped. John Brennan: Obama “fully engaged from beginning.. no effort be spared.” Clear Obama is leaning forward on this disaster. Reuters’ question on BP: Will be judged by whether they can stop the oil at the source. “BP is the responsible party,” says Allen. Com. Thad Allen has talked to Adm. Mike Mullen on possible suport. 1st goal is to “stop this thing @ source… extensive pressure on BP.” Dept of Defense and BP are working together. Allen said C130s, which can cover 250 acres of oil, are dropping dispersants from the air, which is being effective. Thad Allen, good news: BP put pipe 5,000 ft down using dispersants as test; “appeared visually to have impact.” Watching ecosystem. Contact with shoreline depends on weather, said Thad Allen; close to Louisiana right now, including Mississippi and Alabama; booms at “1 million feet.” A lot of oil out there, so the “real question is when and where.” Question on relief well: “staging equipment in preparation to drill; put platform in place… that has all started… vessels have arrived on scene.” Couple of rigs have shut down due to “proximity of oil,” but will follow up. Most incidences deal with water level problems, “until we cap the well we have a indeterminate amount of oil,” so the history making part of this spill is the depth of the well at 5,000 ft, as well as the equipment required (including robots) to get the job done. The total number of breeches of the BP catastrophe is now three, according to Denis McDonough, who closed the call. Further updates available at deepwaterhorizonresponse.com

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Documents obtained by the AP reveal British Petroleum wasn’t at all prepared for the calamity their incompetence has produced. A BP “environmental study” judged it “unlikely” that a major oil spill would occur.

The plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, said repeatedly that it was “unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities.” Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs, Miss.-based environmental lawyer and board member for the Gulf Restoration Network, said he doesn’t see anything in the document suggesting BP addressed the kind of technology needed to control a spill at that depth of water.

But spill, baby, spill BP did.

From the National Audubon Society.

The “drill here, drill now” crowd’s slogan seems even more sophomoric than it was when they first uttered it. Never mind that Pres. Obama took up their charge.

However, for an Alaskan, let alone a former governor who lived through the trauma, economic calamity, and environmental catastrophe of Exxon-Valdez spill, Sarah Palin’s Facebook musings on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig Gulf disaster, that may be bigger than what Alaska experienced, is all platitudes, no substance.

That said, Pres. Obama’s statement isn’t anything to write home about either: he’s still behind his offshore plan, but just wants to wait to learn more on how the BP disaster occurred.

None of our leaders understand what BP has done, the possible negligence, which perhaps rises to the level of corporate indifference mixed with sheer, unadulterated incompetence. They look like the Mickey Mouse of oil production at this point, no offense intended to the great mouse.

That BP was never concerned about the wildlife damage, the horrible consequences to bird life seems obvious, otherwise they would have had a plan in place in case the worse happened. Calling it “unlikely,” then not preparing is beyond contemptible. Beyond the birds, there are sperm whales, as well as bluefin tuna, with sea turtles in danger as they make their way to nest in Southern states, all of them at risk.

This is part of what Sarah had to say:

… As an Alaskan, I can speak from the heart about the tragedy of an oil spill. For as long as I live, I will never forget the day the Exxon-Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef and millions of gallons of North Slope crude poured into the waters of our beautiful Prince William Sound. The spill was devastating to so many Alaskans who, like my own family, make their living on the water from our commercial fishing industry. “Heartbreaking” was the word my husband Todd, an Alaska Native and trained oil spill responder, used to describe the scene as we watched it unfold on land and water that we feel is sacred.

Alaskans understand the tragedy of an oil spill, and we’ve taken steps to do all we can to prevent another Exxon tragedy, but we are still pro-development. We still believe in responsible development, which includes drilling to extract energy sources, because we know that there is an inherent link between energy and security, energy and prosperity, and energy and freedom. Production of our own resources means security for America and opportunities for American workers. We need oil, and if we don’t drill for it here, we have to purchase it from countries that not only do not like America and can use energy purchases as a weapon against us, but also do not have the oversight that America has.

In the coming days, there will be hearings to discover the cause of the explosion and the subsequent leak. Actions will be taken to increase oversight to prevent future accidents. Government can and must play an appropriate role here. If a company was lax in its prevention practices, it must be held accountable. It is inexcusable for any oil company to not invest in preventative measures. They must be held accountable or the public will forever distrust the industry. […]

Breton Island Bird Sanctuary

Spokespeople for spill, baby, spill like Sarah should take a breath before jumping from Oh This Is Terrible, Prayers Go Forth to We Can Still Drill Here, Drill Now, You Betcha!

Oh, and by all means, after the tragedy occurs let’s make sure BP is held accountable.

What about legislators acting like stewards of our great nation, while holding corporations like BP accountable for being prepared for the worst before it actually (and inevitably) occurs?

The BP oil rig that collapsed on the ocean floor is the size of two football fields. This BP drilling site was 5,000 feet down, with no one ever having to deal with a leak of this size at this depth. However, from the looks of things BP has simply left this mess in the Coast Guard’s lap. That they’ll pay for it isn’t enough.

When corporations go exploring down to the depths of 5,000 feet, public officials and politicians, even spill, baby, spill spokespeople like Sarah Palin, should be prepared with more than platitudes when catastrophic environmental and economic disaster threatens a region. Politicians like Palin and, yes, even Pres. Obama need to put down their drill down, drill deep sloganeering on behalf of an industry that is flying blind in the deep blue sea, to take a moment to put in place an immediate release emergency clean up policy in case the inevitable happens.

As for BP, I’m obviously no oil expert, but you don’t have to be one to guess that this corporation had absolutely no clue what they were doing down at 5,000 ft. below sea level, drilling where few have gone before. Robots and remotely operated vehicles on the ocean floor aren’t enough to guarantee no damage will be done, with a blow-out preventer valve not seeming near enough of a back up. We’re finding out what happens when it fails to work, with the added horror that BP had absolutely no back up if the blow-out preventer valve didn’t seal.

Pres. Obama is headed towards the Gulf region to survey the damage. You know, because after Rush, Sean Hannity and the entire wingnut radio band started calling this “Obama’s Katrina” (with the New York Times jumping in too) he has to look like he isn’t George W. Bush. However, Rush’s carnival barking went beyond bizarre when he implied it was all some big plan. It’s not as good as his Bill Clinton drug runner rant, but it’s still sci-fi worthy:

RUSH: I want to get back to the timing of the blowing up, the explosion out there in the Gulf of Mexico of this oil rig. Since they’re sending SWAT teams down there now this changes the whole perspective of this. Now, lest we forget, ladies and gentlemen, the carbon tax bill, cap and trade that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day. I remember that. And then it was postponed for a couple of days later after Earth Day, and then of course immigration has now moved in front of it. But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they’re sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they’re sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I’m just noting the timing here.

Idiocy reins on the right.

But as the oil reaches perishable wetlands, once again because of the short-sightedness of her leaders, America is reduced to the pathetic, fossil fuel dependent, indebted lumbering empire, with no energy enlightenment to be seen over the oil slicked shores of the Southern Gulf coastal region, which is just the latest proof of a reality that no politician in America wants to face.

The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn’t really a spill: It’s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker,which might empty in hours or days.” – BP’s containment problem is unprecedented