Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 67



  • There's a pretty disorganized storm a-brewin', BP doesn't have its hurricane response plan togetherthe City is trying to figure out how to amend its own — and none of that bodes well for operations to cap the gusher, let alone clean up after it:

    If winds reach gale force near the well, which is about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, it could drive wave swells to 8 feet in height, which would force the suspension of surface skimming operations as well as efforts to recapture leaking oil near the seabed, (U.S. Coast Guard) Admiral (Thad) Allen said. All told, disconnecting the containment cap and pipes from the well before the storm and then reconnecting them afterward could leave the well unchecked for as long as 14 days, he said.

    Five days is generally too far in the future for scientists to forecast with any precision where a weather system that has yet to fully form will go, said Brian LaMarre, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service on special assignment in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge office.

    “It’s almost like a doctor trying to diagnose you with a cold and you don’t have it yet,” Mr. LaMarre said.

    An area of “disturbed weather is approaching near Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic,” Mr. LaMarre said on Friday afternoon, adding that a reconnaissance plane was on its way to the area to see whether the system had formed a low-pressure center, an indication that it could gain strength.

    Vice President Joe Biden is due in New Orleans this Tuesday-ish during his Gulf Coast visit.

    Rep. Charlie Melancon is pleading to BP for mental health services to the coast, where Captain William "Rookie" Kruse took his life Wednesday. Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland has a must-read report on the oil disaster's toll on the home front.

  • Here's how day-to-day response efforts work: Things kick of with a 20-minute conference at 8 a.m., where all operations and information is laid on the table for all players to see. But nobody has any idea who's in charge once they leave the room.

  • How's about a free "Prosecute BP" sticker? The website Sticker Robot has 'em:
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    And then there are people who feel the need to defend BP. Like Michael H. Towle for the Daily Breeze, who writes "Another view from the Gulf of Mexico", saying "The truth is that BP is doing an incredible job in responding to the spill," among other mind-blowing knee-jerk defenses.

    Then of course there's BP itself, with its cache of "reporters" who "blog" from the coast — weirdly whimsical pieces about flying in helicopters ("Out here, flying at a height of up to 1,400 feet, the clouds are puffy white and brilliantly lighted but cast dark shadows on the wave-capped water below") and booming ("Watching the captains weave the long black boom as seamlessly as a professional ballet troupe performs an intricate dance..."). ... What?

    David Letterman's got a New Orleans fetish right now. His Late Show has had John Goodman, promoting Treme, and John Besh, and earlier this week, Regis Philbin, who wagered a $10,000 bet against Letterman, who said you could see the Statue of Liberty from the Brookyln Bridge. Not sure if that 10 large was for real, but Letterman said it would go to Gulf oil disaster relief — that's a big chunk of change to joke about. (And, bonus, here's Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews with Orleans Avenue, performing "One Night Only," from the same broadcast.)

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