This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
The gusher of petroleum at BP’s wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico has already won the trophy for the worst oil spill in the country’s history. But it may just be getting warmed up.
Now that “top kill” – BP’s last-ditch attempt to turn off the spigot – has failed, prospects for a fix anytime soon look dim. The company hopes to begin capturing the rising oil this week by lowering a containment dome over the ruptured pipeline, but it’s hard to put much faith in the effort after everything else has failed.
Relief wells, which should reach the shaft by August, are supposed to be the surefire solution. Let’s hope. In the meantime, the catastrophic blowout threatens to turn the Gulf of Mexico into another Black Sea.
Between now and then, we’ll witness an unprecedented political science experiment.