The mess in the Gulf of Mexico is much worse than it would have if there had been one good response plan in place instead of five shoddy ones, officials of all stripes tell the New York Times. The cleanup effort, experts say, has been bedeviled by a lack of urgency, disorganization, and a lack of communication among state, federal, and local officials.
The response plans that were in place when the Deepwater Horizon blew—including national and regional ones by the Coast Guard and federal officials and BP's own plans—omitted or underplayed the effects of a deep water blowout. And the government's oversight of response plans put in place after the Exxon Valdez spill amounted to accepting what oil companies said they could do instead of checking to see if they could actually do it, a private oil-spill response consultant says. "The decisions are not timely. The resources are not produced. And as a result, you have a big mess, with no command and control,”complains one senator.