Drill, baby, drill

This NASA satellite photo of the horrific Gulf of Mexico oil spill was taken two days ago, on April 25th:

Image of Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Oil is already killing marine life in the Gulf, and it will most certainly reach land and cause horrific damage.

Just two days earlier, on April 23rd, the Coast Guard said no oil was leaking from the sunken rig:

No oil appeared to be leaking from a drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said Friday… Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said Friday morning that no oil appeared to be leaking from a well head at the ocean floor, nor was any leaking at the water’s surface.

The Gulf of Mexico is about to suffer an unthinkable environmental catastrophe, especially if this much oil floated to the surface in just two days (though perhaps the Coast Guard misdiagnosed the problem or reported inaccurately to avoid admitting this catastrophe so close to Earth Day).

The best hope to stop this is a dome that is estimated to take 2 to 4 weeks to build. Drilling another hole to slow the flow of oil from the leaking hole could take three months! So, short of a miracle, this slick will grow larger and thicker for weeks.

I want to know why — if a dome is the best response to such a leak — no such dome is available for immediate deployment?!?! Did we think offshore oil rigs were invulnerable? Or did we not want to burden the oil extraction industry with the cost of preparing for an inevitable disaster?

Posted by James on Tuesday, April 27, 2010