The latest trajectory maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the oil reaching the Panhandle by Saturday. Forget what you heard about a drilling moratorium — at least in shallow waters. But wait — “The well has been capped, more or less.” And fear not — the “Dutch sweeping arm system” has arrived.

Here it comes
Tunderstorms, winds from the south and choppy waves could push the oil toward the panhandle, and over the protective booms, as the oil looms a few miles from the Florida coast.

The primary oil plume remained 30 miles from Pensacola on Thursday, NOAA models showed.

But a light sheen was reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approximately six miles from Navarre Pier on Thursday morning.

And during an afternoon flight over the Gulf, Gov. Charlie Crist said he spotted a sheen circulating 3½ to four miles off Pensacola Beach. A much larger plume was about 10 miles off the beach, he said.

Crist and other state leaders are demanding more resources — and more attention form the federal government.

Crist urged BP to pay the state another $50 million for cleanup efforts and promised to make a plea for more resources today when he meets President Barack Obama in Louisiana.

Some folks are enjoying the beaches while they can. And Florida waters, state officials emphasize, remain open for fishing. It’s the federal waters, well offshore, that are closed.

Hayward learns a lesson
BP CEO Tony Hayward finds the time to bang out a column in The Wall Street Journal describing “lessons learned” from the spill.

First, we need better safety technology. We in the industry have long had great confidence in the blow-out preventer as the ultimate failsafe piece of safety equipment. Yet on this occasion it failed, with disastrous consequences.

Since the April 20 explosions and fire, BP is carefully evaluating the subsea blow-out preventers used in all our drilling operations world-wide, including the testing and maintenance procedures of our drilling contractors using the devices. We will participate in industry-wide efforts to improve the safety and reliability of subsea blow-out preventers and deep water drilling practices.

Second, we need to be better prepared for a subsea disaster. It is clear that our industry should be better prepared to address deep sea accidents of this type and magnitude.

With each major spill, we as an industry learn more. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the industry recognized the need to enhance its capacity to address oil spills. The result was the Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC), an independent, nonprofit company.

Perhaps as a rejoinder, the Oil Drum, an online hangout for oil geologists and engineers, presents this extensive list of lessons not learned from near-misses and averted disasters from the short history of deep-sea oil drilling.

Meet the lawyers: Elana Schor takes a look at some of the people who will be suing BP.

“Caught in the Oil”: A gut-wrenching gallery from the Boston Globe’s The Big Picture.

This is what bureaucracy looks like: With shallow waters still open for drilling, ProPublica offers this handy flowchart depicting the permit approval process at the Minerals Management Service.

You May Also Like

Rooney, Southerland talk agriculture, water rules with Florida Farm Bureau

Nearly 75 members of the Florida Farm Bureau met with members of their congressional delegation this week to discuss agricultural issues as part of the group's annual Field to the Hill event. Among the topics brought up during the event, which ended yesterday, were the controversial numeric nurient criteria, a set of water pollution standards proposed by the EPA, and the heavily debated Farm Bill, which is currently being drafted.