More than seven weeks after the Deepwater Horizon drill rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico and set off the United States' worst-ever oil spill, this much is clear: Neither BP nor the Obama administration were properly prepared to handle a drilling disaster of this magnitude. Neither has distinguished itself in its reaction to this point.
The drilling contractors' overarching ineptitude and disdain for safety, and the administration's bungling of its regulatory obligations before the fiasco and its uncertain responses since then, are as outrageous as they are infuriating. Congress must resolve: never again.
Initial investigations by authorities and inquiries by news organizations have shown that private and public agency failures to observe key safety practices and conduct routine tests helped bring about this disaster. When the explosion occurred, it happened quickly. No one seemed to know who was in charge or what to do. If this lack of preparation is typical, the wonder is that more drilling operations haven't created significant problems in the Gulf.
President Obama, who has come under fire for his restraint in talking about the disaster, only recently grasped what a challenge the disaster presents his administration's future. The president has begun to talk more harshly, telling NBC he was consulting with experts "so I know whose ass to kick."
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