The PB Atlantis rig (photo) is the world's largest and deepest submersible oil and natural gas platform -- it can produce 8.4 million gallons of oil a day. It is situated in the Gulf of Mexico.
Despite the present disaster, concerns that had been raised about the safety of Atlantis have not gone away. Rather, they are a giant step closer to having been validated. Food and Water Watch made this statement about Atlantis as early as July 2009:
BP has repeatedly skirted the law in developing the Atlantis project. BP’s own database from November 2008 shows that it does not have the required engineering certification for 85 percent of the project’s subsea piping and instrument diagrams and many of its safety shutdown systems’ logic diagrams....
Tell Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to launch an immediate investigation and, given the seriousness of the situation, immediately suspend production at the Atlantis. Ask your member of Congress to call for oversight hearings on MMS regarding the regulation of the Atlantis and what role the Bush Administration played in allowing BP to operate the platform without proper safety documentation.To understand the risks posed by Atlantis, and the extent of the recent cover-up by the MMS and the Department of the Interior, see Jotman's Timeline of Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Also check out the Food and Water Watch paper: BP’s Atlantis: Will It Cause a Catastrophic Accident in the Gulf of Mexico (July 2009). The group blogged about Atlantis on April 23. And the Huston Chronicle ran story about the allegations of serious safety violations on the rig on April 29. Surely we ought to tell the Obama Administration to compel BP to suspend operations on its Atlantis rig today. You can find two updated versions of such a petition here and here.
Food and Water Watch anticipated the potentially catastrophic consequences of BP's operating procedures in the Gulf of Mexico, but the Obama Administration did not heed their dire warnings. Knowing what we now know, it would be crazy for the government not take any warnings about any BP oil rig operation in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico seriously. After all, no Rule of Nature that says there can only be one disaster at a time.