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.
karl rove wrote in the wsj that this was “obama’s katrina” and i can’t help but think he might be partially right—this was in federal waters, regulated by the federal government, and the government’s response has been “we will hold bp responsible and have bp mitigate the problem.”
even though i fall right-of-center, i will be the first to admit that the GOPers criticizing obama’s ‘slow’ or ‘indirect’ response would have been the first to cry foul if he and the feds went in guns blazing to tell industry (bp) what to do and managed the cleanup. in the interest of the gulf coast and the environment, i wish the feds had come down hard and fast with the hammer.
Setting aside whether the Obama administration’s reaction to the spill has been adequate, I think it is a false analogy to compare the oil spill to Katrina.
1. You can see hurricane’s coming for days in advance. Having lived in New Orleans, I can say that a massive flood after a large hurricane should not have surprised ANYONE. The oil spill was an unexpected event.
2. Hurricanes are not manmade. We have government specifically to deal with these sorts of things. The oil spill, on the other hand, was caused by the people on and associated with the rig. At least initially, it was their job to deal with it.
3. No one, that I am aware of, has died or is currently dying because of the spill. I understand that several individuals died during the explosion on the rig. That is obviously unfortunate, but those deaths are not oil spill related, they are explosion related (this might be a fine line to draw, but I think it is reasonable in comparing Katrina to the oil spill).
There are probably additional reasons that the two are not comparable, but I don’t have all day for this.