May 2nd, 2010
09:15 AM ET
11 years ago

Salazar calls oil spill 'massive' and a potential catastrophe

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 'potentially' catastrophic."]
Washington (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from a destroyed rig "potentially is catastrophic."

Salazar told CNN's "State of the Union" program, "I think we have to prepare for the worst."

He said later in the program that "It is indeed a massive oil spill."

Asked what happened, Salazar said there was a failure in the technology that is intended to prevent a so-called blowout.

"There is no doubt at all here that that what has happened is the blowout prevention mechanism at the bottom of the well ... is defective," Salazar said. "While there have been blowouts in the past, we have never seen anything that has been quite of this magnitude."

Watch: Salazar on the oil spill

The Obama administration has ordered inspections of "blowout preventers" on other Gulf rigs, Salazar said. He noted that BP, which operated the destroyed rig, is legally responsible for the spill and any resulting damage.

"So our job is to keep the boot on the neck of" BP to ensure it meets its obligations, Salazar said.

Updated: 10:11 a.m.

Filed under: Energy • Ken Salazar • State of the Union
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Rich, Kankakee, IL.

    you got that right, Why don't we have the same equipment that other countries have, why did we allow them to take short cuts, and who allowed then to cut corners?

    May 2, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Gil

    So Sarah Patheic can take her, "Drill Baby Drill" and shove it! Our president should reconsider his drilling in the Gulf and say "NO More!"

    May 2, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. Rich, Kankakee, IL.

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal expressed frustration Saturday with efforts to clean up a massive oil spill creeping toward the Gulf coast, saying "we continue to be concerned with BP's ability to respond to this incident." This is the same Governor that does not believe in Volcano Science either, why does anyone take him seriously he does not believe in science in any form, so he is only taking pot shots on based on his limited knowledge!

    May 2, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. AJ

    Drill baby drill...
    Doesnt sound so great now does it?

    May 2, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. DJ

    I say, bring in a sub and a couple of torpedoes and send bill to BP!! Seal the hole and forget about trying to save the oil!!!

    May 2, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Kent in CA

    Isn't there a whole cadre of politicians that feel that Mr Salazar's department is largely a waste of taxpayer money?
    If government is the problem, why are people looking to the government to respond to this?
    Where is the public outcry against BP? Where is the call to boycott (like we did Exxon)?
    Perhaps those that decry the evils of government regulation should speak out on BP's behalf. This is the under-regulated free market at work.
    Without oversight, a profit-driven enterprise is almost certain to take risks that imperil everyone. That is true whether they are seling Toyotas, financial derivatives, or gasoline.
    It's time to put our 'boots on the necks' of all corporations that take inadequate quality measures and put the public at risk.

    May 2, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |