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May 2nd, 2010
09:09 AM ET
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday called the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from a destroyed rig "massive" and a potential catastrophe.

"It potentially is catastrophic," Salazar said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "I think we have to prepare for the worst." Salazar said later in the program that "it is indeed a massive oil spill."

Asked what happened, Salazar said there was a failure in the technology that is intended to prevent a so-called blowout.

"There is no doubt at all here that that what has happened is the blowout prevention mechanism at the bottom of the well ... is defective," Salazar said.

"While there have been blowouts in the past, we have never seen anything that has been quite of this magnitude."

The Obama administration has ordered inspections of "blowout preventers" on other Gulf rigs, Salazar said. He noted that BP, which operated the destroyed rig, is legally responsible for the spill and any resulting damage.

"So our job is to keep the boot on the neck of" BP to ensure it meets its obligations, Salazar said.

Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill


Displaying 21 Comments | Add comment
1
May 2nd, 2010
11:23 am ET
 

–"So our job is to keep the boot on the neck of" BP to ensure it meets its obligations, Salazar said.–

No. Your job is protect our country.

Contrary to what the President says, the ultimate responsibility for this spill & resulting devastation does not fall with BP. The responsibility lies with our government that allowed our waters & country to be put in jeopardy.

Posted by: greggish
2
May 2nd, 2010
12:03 pm ET
 

Let's see, in the past 2 weeks we have:

- car bomb in Times Square
- largest water main in Massachusetts breaks – leaving 2 million without potable water; days to repair; the pipe is less than 7 years old
- 3 to 4 bomb threats left in airliner restrooms causing diversions
- a massive oil rig explosion that now threatens all of the Gulf and most of Florida – including the East coast

Hmmmmm.....

Posted by: Suncatcher
3
May 2nd, 2010
12:26 pm ET
 

It’s looking to be the worst US ecological disaster – Blame should first be with the lobbyists who were able to pay their way to allow the United States to wave the need of shut-off valves for these oil rigs. Some countries, like Brazil, did not bow to oil industry pressures and require stricter safety measures. They used their brain and not their pocketbook. Next, we need to look at the US government officials who allowed these lobbyists to have their way. These government officials should be ousted. How do the Republicans feel now that they wouldn’t act on a clean energy bill unless oil drilling was included? Could this be the reason why the clean energy bill that was to be brought to the floor of the Senate last Monday, 26th April was cancelled? And then Graham blamed it on something else. Amazing! Does it take a disaster of this magnitude to change the corrupt government ways? Time will tell, but I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: LindaAlex
4
May 2nd, 2010
12:39 pm ET
 

I find the level of information REALLY LOW on this event, a few ireport stuff, same video for 24 hours ? Nobody on site ? What is going on ?

Posted by: Alan
5
May 2nd, 2010
1:34 pm ET
 

This is a huge disaster for our country and mainly the gulf coast, but rest assured even if the government is wanting to distance themselves from this gulf coast natives WILL volunteer in great numbers.

Posted by: Tim Outlaw
6
May 2nd, 2010
5:27 pm ET
 

I have read a lot of articles about this and have yet to see one single report about how they will STOP the leak. I worst fear is that no one has any idea about what to do.

Posted by: B Hawkins
7
May 2nd, 2010
10:06 pm ET
 

The Gulf of Mex. will suffer one of the largest man made ecological disasters we have ever seen. The no. one priority is to STOP the FLOW of OIL.

The southern border is the site of another grand, man made disaster. The no. one priority should be STOP the ILLEGAL ALIENS. We do not need comprehensive immigration reform, to secure the border.

Visit the NumbersUSA website and help fight illegal immigration.

Posted by: magyart
8
May 2nd, 2010
11:45 pm ET
 

We need to seal the leaking well ASAP. There IS a FAST and simple way to do it but we won't. A 50-70 kiloton enhanced tactical warhead would seal the well and the mile of seawater would contain the fallout very effectively. We won't do it though beacuse we're too frightened of nuclear explosives to view then as useful TOOLS. We insist on viewing them as weapons.

Posted by: Gizmo Fester
9
May 3rd, 2010
12:32 am ET
 

Spelling corrected: We need to seal the leaking well ASAP. There IS a FAST and simple way to do it but we won't. A 50-70 kiloton enhanced tactical warhead would seal the well and the mile of seawater would contain the fallout very effectively. We won't do it though beacuse we're too frightened of nuclear explosives to view them as useful TOOLS. We insist on viewing them only as weapons.

Posted by: Gizmo Fester
10
May 3rd, 2010
12:59 am ET
 

Gizmo.....Really bright. Nuke the wellhead !! Suppose the it does not seal the gusher. Suppose instead the nuke makes the leak massively worse ??? !! Maybe it even opens up a fault line on the seabed and releases all the oil in the reserve at once. You have no idea what you are talking about. I am surely glad you are not one of the BP decision makers on this.

Posted by: jlsjmg
11
May 3rd, 2010
1:03 am ET
 

(Corrections) Gizmo.....Really bright. Nuke the wellhead !! Suppose the tacticle nuke does not seal the gusher? Suppose instead the nuke makes the leak massively worse ??? !! Maybe it even opens up a fault line on the seabed and releases all the oil in the reserve at once. You have no idea what you are talking about. I am surely glad you are not one of the BP decision makers on this. (

Posted by: jlsjmg
12
May 3rd, 2010
1:18 am ET
 

I think Gizmo got my attention,Nuke just might be the answer be use high power bombs on the surface of the ocean this will atomize the oil particles but not impact the ocean bottom the bombs do not have enough fire to reach the bottom sea floor.Remember were are talking about one mile of water approx 5000ft

Posted by: jesse
13
May 3rd, 2010
1:28 am ET
 

Jesse.....Oh that's great.. an airburst nuke. Most of the heavy oil is way below the surface. Why not create a nuclear cloud to drift over the already decimated southern states to increase the the pollution to include nuclear radiation and further demoralize the people there and poison them after they were blown away by Katrina and befouled by the oil. How stupid can you get or insane can you be. Disgusting comment.... really!!!!

Posted by: jlsjmg
14
May 3rd, 2010
1:54 am ET
 

Two comments:

ONE – there has been a lot of hysteria about the actual oil leak (not the efforts to ameliorate the damage) but I have seen little detail about the actual facts concerning ways to stop it (just something about BP having the only deep sea robotic submersibles to deal with this). It sounds like nonsense since highly advanced submersibles for research have been in use for years at universities involved in deep sea research. Why haven’t they called in the deep ocean experts if BP’s oil experts can do nothing? I haven’t heard anything about Scripps or Woods Hole ships on their way.

TWO – BP’s responsibility extends not only to the costs of containment and the cleanup, but also to the lost incomes and opportunities for the residents of the coast they are now facing and will continue to face, until IF and WHEN the situation returns to normal. IF the coast fisheries etc. are destroyed they owe the total amount lost now and FOREVER MORE. It’s tough their cutoff valve didn’t work, but it was and is THEIR cutoff valve.

Posted by: Mr. Leslie Spaiser
15
May 3rd, 2010
2:20 am ET
 

@ jlsjmg: Actually, I do know what I'm talking about. I'm an engineer who worked in the plowshare program way back when (google plowshare+nuclear). A tactical nuke' would, with VERY high probability, seal the well. If it didn't seal it completely it would slow the leak greatly. It would have no chance of 'opening up the sea floor' and making things worse. You just have to look at the scale you would be operating on here.

@jesse: I'm not talking about an airburst here. Deliver the warhead via submersible ROV right at the wellhead a mile down. The mile of water ovwerhead would contain any fallout products very effectively. An airburst would certainly vaporize any oil on the surface but the fallout would make this an unacceptable option. An underwater nuclear explosion would stop or greatly slow the leak allowing for greater effectiveness of topside cleanup efforts while buying time for the relief well to be drilled.

Posted by: Gizmo Fester
16
May 3rd, 2010
3:00 am ET
 

Gizmo...And what about the tsunami that might ensue as well by using a nuke???. Any wave would send existing oily waves far into the coastline. Please be real !

Posted by: jlsjmg
17
May 3rd, 2010
3:53 am ET
 

@jlsjmg: We're not talking about hypotheticals here, we've done the experiment. A 50 kiloton device, detonated 5000 feet down and 50 miles offshore, would produce a tsunami of ~6 INCHES as measured at the La shoreline closest to the destroyed drilling rig. Look up the plowshares program dude. We did lots of work with using atomics in oil and gas fields to try to enhance production. We know what a 50 kiloton device would do to the wellhead. I sense in your tone a great revulsion at the prospect of using a thermonuclear bomb as a tool but what would you prefer; destruction of the gulf coast ecology or a patch of radioactive sediment buried 50 miles offshore and a mile down?

Posted by: Gizmo Fester
18
May 3rd, 2010
4:49 am ET
 

Gizmo. Have you accoutet that a 50KT nuclear explosion, interesting as it is, will possibly contaminate the entire foodchain of the gulf longer than the oilspill?

Posted by: B Roth
19
May 3rd, 2010
5:48 am ET
 

@ B Roth: The wellhead is 5000 feet down. Heavy metal (actinide) fallout will be quite localized. What little isn't buried will be swept away and diluted to undetctable levels by the gulfstream within weeks.

Posted by: Gizmo Fester
20
May 3rd, 2010
1:56 pm ET
 

[...] response to the largest oil spill in history, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar painted the picture in stark terms on Sunday: "It potentially is catastrophic," Salazar said on CNN's "State [...]

21
May 4th, 2010
6:00 pm ET
 

CNN, PLEASE INVITE DISCUSSIONS AND REPORT ON ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO COLLECT AS MUCH OIL AS POSSIBLE---NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE BY BP AND THE GOVERNMENT!!!!!! THERE NEED TO BE MORE DESIGNS READY TO BE EMPLOYED. WE ARE NOT HEARING ABOUT ANY OF THEM. THE NATIONAL MEDIA MUST DO MORE THAN SIMPLY REPORT. THEY NEED TO STEP UP AND FACILITATE DISCUSSION TO DESIGN WAYS FORWARD. IF ANY READER AGREES WITH THIS PLEASE MAKE SIMILAR COMMENTS TO THIS MEDIA WEBSITE AND OTHER NATIONAL MEDIA WEBSITES.

For instance, BP has lowered pipes from a ship to spread dispersant near the plumes of oil from the leak. Why don't they have additional ships/tankers/vessels with piping that can be extended near the leaks to suck up some of the oil as it is leaving the pipe. This wouldn't collect all the oil like the dome technology is designed to do. But at least it will collect some of the oil, and it will collect the oil at the point of greatest concentration. Perhaps a few hundred thousand gallons of oil could be collected before the domes are lowered in place. Another estimated 1 million gallons of oil will gush out into the Gulf before the domes are lowered. At least collect some of the oil until that time!!!!!

CNN, please invite experts and technologists to your program to expedite discussions on how to collect as much oil as possible to reduce the magnitude of the damage. You have tremendous power to force these discussions and help solve the problem. Now is the time for the nation news programs to step up and help design a way forward during this time of national tragedy. Simply reporting what BP and the government is doing is gravely underutilizing your power, at a time when the Gulf coast and teh nation needs you to do more. Please use your power to ensure that as many designs as possible are being discussed to reduce the damage!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jeff
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