Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week…

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure…

The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.

***
In what is measuring up to be the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, the government is nearly helpless to stop the oil flowing from the Deepwater Horizon well that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20…

President Obama’s top environmental adviser Carol Browner said Sunday the government is responding with what she called the largest environmental mobilization effort ever, but it looks like it could be up to BP to dig a new well before the gushing spill stops pouring into the Gulf of Mexico.

“There’s not just one being dug, there are two. Because we insisted — the government insisted that there be a second one in case something went wrong with the first one,” Browner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

***
Here’s my question: Why were we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?

Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama’s tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.) And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we’ve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…

There will always be catastrophic oil spills. You make them as rare as humanly possible, but where would you rather have one: in the Gulf of Mexico, upon which thousands depend for their livelihood, or in the Arctic, where there are practically no people? All spills seriously damage wildlife. That’s a given. But why have we pushed the drilling from the barren to the populated, from the remote wilderness to a center of fishing, shipping, tourism and recreation?

***
One of the top media consultants for British Petroleum gave free rent to a politician who became White House Chief of Staff.

And, no, this was not Karl Rove giving a freebie to Andy Card.

No, the recipient of the favor was Rahm Emanuel and the benefactor was Stanley Greenberg…

Let’s see what the honest Left thinks about Stan Greenberg’s work on behalf of the worst corporate polluter in American history. He’s been accused of being one of the top “greenwashers” out there. BP is charged with spending over $200 million on efforts to assert alleged environmental consciousness. (Meantime they cut corners to save money on the Deepwater Horizon) It’s been called “greenwashing of epic proportions” Obviously, BP would rather spend money on high priced DC PR consultants than on boring stuff like oil drilling safety.

And Stan Greenberg was the mastermind for BP’s faux concern.

***
When Katrina hit, Bush was in his second term and his bumbling was not a shock to a country that had witnessed two-plus years of his grievous mismanagement of the Iraq war. His laissez-faire response to the hurricane was also consistent with his political DNA as a small-government conservative in thrall to big business. His administration’s posture toward the gulf region had been telegraphed at its inception, when Dick Cheney convened oil and gas cronies, including Enron’s Ken Lay, to set environmental and energy policy. The Interior Department devolved into a cesspool of corruption, even by its historically low standards, turning the Bush-Cheney antigovernment animus into a self-fulfilling prophecy and bequeathing Obama a Minerals Management Service as broken as the Bush-Cheney FEMA exposed by Katrina…

The only good news from the oil spill is that when catastrophe strikes, even some hard-line conservatives, like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, start begging for the federal government to act, and act big. It’s the crunch moment for government to make its case — as Obama belatedly started to do on Thursday. But words are no match for results. As long as the stain washes up on shore, the hole in BP’s pipe will serve the right as a gaping hole in the president’s argument for expanded government supervision of, for starters, Big Oil and big banks. It’s not just the gulf that could suffer for decades to come.

***