Ken Salazar, the Interior secretary whose staff allowed BP to drill in the Gulf based on pro-industry rules cooked up during the Bush years, has made no secret of his determination to push the "frontier" of oil drilling into the Arctic. The region's untapped waters are believed to hold as much as 27 billion barrels of oil — an amount that would rival some of the largest oil fields in the Middle East.
Experts warn that a spill in the Arctic would be far worse than the disaster currently unfolding in the Gulf, where experienced contractors and relief equipment are close at hand. By contrast, the sites in the Arctic where Shell plans to drill are devilishly remote. The closest Coast Guard station is on Kodiak Island, some 1,000 miles away. The nearest cache of boom to help contain a spill is in Seattle — a distance of 2,000 miles.
The most devastating assault on American soil since 9/11.
The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 6/8/10
"In case you were wondering who's responsible," Obama told the nation, "I take responsibility."
On the campaign trail, Obama had stressed that
offshore drilling "will not make a real dent in current gas prices or
meet the long-term challenge of energy independence." But once in office,
he bowed to the politics of "drill, baby, drill." Hoping to use oil as a
bargaining chip to win votes for climate legislation in Congress, Obama
unveiled an aggressive push for new offshore drilling in the Arctic, the
Southeastern seaboard and new waters in the Gulf, closer to Florida than
Interior minister Ken Salazar: "We are making decisions based on sound information and sound science." The president, for his part, praised Salazar as "one of the finest secretaries of Interior we've ever had" and stressed that his administration had studied the drilling plan for more than a year. "This is not a decision that I've made lightly," he said. Two days later, he issued an even more sweeping assurance. "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills," the president said. "They are technologically very advanced."
Eighteen days later, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Deepwater Horizon rig went off like a bomb.
The failure of the Obama administration to crack down on BP – and to tackle the crisis with the full force of the federal government – is likely to haunt the Gulf Coast for decades to come. Oil continues to lap up onshore in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Pelican rookeries are fouled, their eggs and nests soaked in oil. The region's fisheries – some of the richest in the world – are imperiled; anglers and shrimpers have been barred from more than a third of the Gulf's waters, which may never fully recover from the toxic stew of crude and chemical dispersant now twisting in its depths. The region's beaches are empty, and tourist towns are dying.
President Obama pushed to expand offshore drilling, in part, to win votes for climate legislation, which remains blocked in the Senate. The political calculus is understandable – the risk of an oil spill weighed against the far greater threat posed by global warming – but in the end, he may have succeeded only in compounding one environmental catastrophe with another.
It lastet 10 months!!!
In the initial stages of the spill, an estimated 30,000 barrels of oil per day were flowing from the well. In July 1979, the pumping of mud into the well reduced the flow to 20,000 barrels per day, and early in August the pumping of nearly 100,000 steel, iron, and lead balls into the well reduced the flow to 10,000 barrels per day.
For more information see Deepwater Horizon oil spill (wikipedia)