Experts see how-not-to book emerging from gulf oil spill cleanup

By David A. Fahrenthold and Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writers

The fight against the gulf oil spill is already writing lessons for future cleanups. Unfortunately for the gulf coast, outside experts say, many are lessons in what not to do.

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, outsiders watching the cleanup say, the federal government and BP have made key mistakes that delayed or distracted the effort to stop the spill. Some were probably inevitable: BP engineers and government officials were forced to improvise in the face of mounting disaster.

But other missteps -- seen with the calm and clarity of hindsight -- look as if they could have been avoided. . . 

"We're all kind of Monday morning quarterbacking here," said Bruce Bullock of Southern Methodist University. But he said the dome effort was clearly "a mistake. The hydrate problem at that depth and that temperature has been so obvious for so long, that it shouldn't have been underestimated."  

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