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By William R. Freudenburg

The tale of ways a sequence of disasters, missteps, and undesirable judgements resulted in America's largest environmental catastrophe.

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Extra resources for Blowout in the Gulf: The BP Oil Spill Disaster and the Future of Energy in America

Sample text

This particular shortcut was not even included as an option in BP’s original application to Minerals Management Service, so the choice required an application for an amended permit. Eager to help, though, the agency approved the amendment that very same day. The second decision involved “cementing in” the final casing.

In essence, an oil-drilling rig is a machine that is capable of lifting, lowering, and turning heavy segments of pipe, as well as pumping drilling mud and cement. The starting point is what the industry calls a drill string—a set of interlocking, heavyduty pipes with a drill bit on the bottom—and a mechanism on the top for turning the string and the bit. The early bits were little more than steel shanks with flattened and sharpened heads, but as wells got deeper, more sophisticated bits and techniques were developed.

Of a 1976 state study that forecast tanker accidents and urged such requirements as double-hulled tankers and tug boat escort beyond Bligh Reef. . • two cutbacks in recent years that probably removed an extra pair of eyes that might have spotted the off-course Valdez. In 1978, the Coast Guard reduced the distance that local pilots had to guide departing tankers and, since 1984, the Coast Guard has cut its radar staff in Valdez to 36 from 60, reduced the radar wattage and decreased the distance required for radar monitoring.

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