Engineers have at least temporarily stopped the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the federal government's top oil-spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said Thursday morning.
The "top kill" effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting. The top kill effort is not complete, officials caution.
Once engineers had reduced the well pressure to zero, they were to begin pumping cement into the hole to entomb the well. To help in that effort, he said, engineers also were pumping some debris into the blowout preventer at the top of the well.
Michael Tomasky riffs off of Grist’s David Roberts to ask these questions about our eventual response to the Gulf oil spill:
Would people be up in arms demanding the government find a solution at any price? Would a majority of Americans grasp the connection between the need for government and regulation (in this case, the acoustic switch and other redundancies that other governments require in offshore operations but the US does not) and the possible prevention of something like this?
Or would Americans just say, well, this is tragic, but it’s one of those things that happens and it’s not an excuse for more government?
I don’t have a good answer to this question. My hope is that the Gulf oil spill and resulting ecological disaster are enough to penetrate the public’s cynical mistrust of government, and push it towards grasping the critical importance of good government. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the public came away from this with its attitudes reinforced, especially since one of the two major political parties is wholly enthrall to a vehemently anti-government ideology.
Conservative ideology believes that the free markets should rule, so if BP lies to us about how much oil is being spewed out into the ocean, that's fine, because it's Big Corp. Under Reagan, they slowly began their assault on the federal agencies designed to protect us. We are witnessing the results of deregulation by the free marketers.