I hope this cautious optimism about stopping the gushing oil in the Gulf is correct. Even so, it's “progress” only in the sense of “not making things even worse.”
The latest effort to plug a gushing underwater oil well in the Gulf of Mexico appeared to be working, officials and engineers said on Thursday morning, though definitive word on its success was still hours away.
Disaster junkies may enjoy the live blogging of the efforts to stop the spill.
Even if they stop it now, though, there's an awful lot of oil in the water.
At the same time, government experts said that the flow of oil from the well, which has been gushing since an explosion and fire wrecked a drilling rig in late April, was several times worse than the preliminary estimate by BP, the oil company responsible for the rig and the well. If these new estimates prove to be accurate, the spill would be far bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 and the worst in United States history.
The folks at Miami-Dade County government have a web page on Deepwater Horizon Response. Do they get a point for being proactive? Or do they lose one for their rather rosy crystal ball:
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not expected to impact Miami-Dade's beaches or fishing industry, and it is unclear if it ever will.
Perhaps they mean “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not expected to impact Miami-Dade's beaches or fishing industry yet, and it is unclear if it ever will”?
Or are they maybe just a little concerned about a major local industry:
We continue to welcome residents and visitors and remain one of the world's top beach destinations.
Or, who knows, maybe they are right? While a few days ago the headline was Dread as oil spill enters current flowing to South Florida, yesterday it was Loop Current destabilizes, lowering threat to Florida — for now.
Unfortunately, for now the best sub-head seems to be 'Impossible to predict'….except that wherever this huge mass of oil goes it will take a very long time to clean up, and even longer to overcome its effects.
Dan writes, BP's Response Plan Was A Joke, Group Charges, at Huffpo:
BP's official response plan for oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico doesn't actually say anything about how the company would stop a blowout, wildly underestimates the worst-case scenario, and lists walruses among the Gulf's “Sensitive Biological Resources” — leading an environmental group to suggest Monday that no regulator could possibly have seriously examined it.
(Walruses? Must have hired Sarah Palin to write it…)
Mother Jones, “It’s BP's Oil”: Mac McClelland runs the anti-press gauntlet set up by BP with compliant local sheriffs to see what a major spill looks like when it washes up to shore.
It seems BP has learned at least one lesson from the Iraq war: keep the press out, or at least tame, and you can do what you like.
JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG: FUN AT DCJ explains the various steps needed for a lawyer to see a client in the Dade County Jail. It's not easy.
For some odd reason this story reminds me of an incident when we were fixing up our house. We were having trouble getting a permit for one of the many many steps involved in the remodeling, and the contractor suggested that we consider hiring a “permit babe”. What's that?, we asked. It seems a permit babe is an out-of-work or underemployed Miami model who moonlights as a permit runner — someone who takes your paperwork to the city and gets it approved.
Runners are commonly used by people who don't have time to stand in line — it can be a long wait — and also because they know the system, and know who to talk to if the front-line staff balk at approving the drawings and forms.
Permit babes, we were told, take this one better. They do all the things runners do, but they do them in very short skirts, which often speeds the permit process considerably.
(We did not hire a permit babe. It took a year and half to get our approval.)