One year post-spill, Thad Allen sees progress

Thad Allen, former Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

wfedstaff | June 3, 2015 11:41 pm

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

It’s been almost a year since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster exposed serious flaws in federal disaster response and led to a brand new agency for regulating oil companies.

But it was also a time for success stories.

Federal News Radio’s Ruben Gomez asked former Coast Guard Admiral and Commandant Thad Allen, who led the federal response as incident commander, how things stand now compared to a year ago.


“Well, I don’t think there’s any doubt that significant progress has been made. I think the real question is what needs to be done and what remains to be done,” said Allen.

Allen listed pending legislation in both the House and the Senate, issues remaining in terms of the liability of oil companies and current limits of that liability are all continuing concerns.

The one thing that hasn’t changed, and isn’t likely to change in the future is feeling like there’s enough money and manpower for a crisis. “There are always going to be resource issues,” said Allen.

Moving forward, said the former Commandant, the Coast Guard needs to “significantly enhance our ability to respond off the north slope of Alaska if we’re going to get into oil exploration up there.”

As for success stories from the Deepwater spill, Allen said he’s seen advances in containment systems and in seafood testing. “I think anybody that is dealing with seafood coming out of the Gulf can rest assured that it’s probably the most tested seafood in the world.”

For more about resources Allen thinks are needed in Alaska and the many challenges facing the Coast Guard in the event of a disaster, listen to the entire interview using the audio player at the top of the page.