From the Wonk Room.
USCG Cmdr. Adm. Thad Allen
There’s enough oil out there it’s logical to assume it will impact the shoreline. The question is when and where.
Allen said that the underwater sea of oil will keep growing until BP is able to cap it, a process that “could go for 45 to 90 days.” If oil continues to flow at current rates for that length of time, that would add up to about 90 million gallons of oil, on the scale of the largest oil spills in history. The winds are expected to shift, directing the spill towards the Mississippi and Alabama coasts over the next 72 to 96 hours. The extended network of floating booms being deployed and dispersants sprayed from C-130s will only mitigate, not stop, the oil’s impact.
Allen led a “2002 planning exercise in New Orleans for an oil spill in the Gulf Coast,” and is applying lessons learned from that exercise today. In 2005, Allen rose to public prominence when the hapless FEMA director Michael Brown asked him to take over the Hurricane Katrina response, a week after the global-warming-fueled storm had made landfall, killed thousands, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. It’s a good sign that Allen is being called in this time when this new fossil-industry disaster is just hitting our shores.