You can imagine the scene at Exxon headquarters. The team responsible for spill response has just learned that a pipeline near Laurel, Mont., has ruptured. "Wow," some team members probably said. A few might have said bad words.
In short order, one pipes up: "What should we do?" Someone suggests shutting the line down partially; this is quickly agreed to. Then, for 46 minutes, the team sits around a heavy oak table, stroking chins and mumbling "hm"s. No one is quite sure what comes next. One guy, like that one kid in fifth grade, is only pretending he's thinking about it; in reality, he's thinking about the movie Captain America (this is in July 2011).
Then someone says: "Maybe we should shut the control valve?" General agreement, nodding. The valve is closed; the flow of oil stops. Hearty congratulations all around. Backs are slapped. The team retires for the day, spending their commuting time (in their Hummers) elaborating the story to make it more interesting. "Man," one guy plans to say upon opening his front door, "you would not believe the day I had."
Anyway, that's the scenario I imagined on reading this AP story: