By Dave Lindorff
What the hell are they thinking in Washington, and down at the "Unified Command" in New Orleans, letting BP try to close off the oil volcano spewing out the top of the damaged Blowout Preventer (BOP) stack?
And what the hell is the mainstream press doing not asking about the clear evidence of oil or gas spewing out under pressure from cracks in the seafloor around the base of the BOP? (See the image of oil spewing from the sea floor here)
Sure the initial partial closing of the valves is working, but they haven't built up much pressure yet, and a lot could go wrong. seriously wrong, and there's good reason to think it will.
I made a call to the media office of the Unified Command, the office set up to respond to public and media inquiries about the disaster, which is supposedly composed of people from the US Coast Guard, other federal agencies, and BP. When I mentioned the videos taken by BP's own remote operating vehicles (ROVs) of the oil and/or gas spewing from cracks in the sea floor, I was told I had to call the press office in Houston, "because you're asking us a question about the sub-surface well."
But here's the thing. The press office in Houston is not run by the Unified Command. The people at the office answer the phone with the phrase: "BP Press." They do this because they are BP employees, and the office is in BP headquarters.
This means if you want to know anything about the structural integrity of the well below the BOP, you have to get that information from BP, not from the government. That's the same BP that told government regulators that they could handle any emergency. The same BP that assured us when the well blew that the spill was just leaking 1000 barrels of oil a day--a figure that appears to have been knowingly understated by a factor of 50 to 100.
Now, when I called BP I got a PR guy with a Brit accent named Toby Odone, who claimed he was "not aware of any oil leaking around the well itself."
He also said, "We're pretty certain that there is no oil leaking around the well that shouldn't be there."
How then to explain their own ROV videos, showing exactly that? Odone assured me he'd "get back" with an answer. So far, no answer.