Oil Spill Today

A summary of events Friday, June 25, Day 66 of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that began with the April 20 explosion and fire on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased by BP PLC, which is in charge of cleanup and containment. The blast killed 11 workers. Since then, oil has been pouring into the Gulf from a blown-out undersea well.


More dirty evidence of the massive oil spill washed ashore along the Gulf Coast for residents who don’t need any more reminders of their frustration over failed efforts to stop the crude gushing from a blown-out undersea well. In Florida, officials on Thursday closed a quarter-mile stretch of Pensacola Beach not far from the Alabama line when thick pools of oil washed up, the first time a beach in the state has been shut because of the spill. A large patch of oil oozed into Mississippi Sound, the fertile waters between the barrier islands and mainland of a state that has mostly been spared.


A cap collecting oil from the well was back in place after a deep-sea robot bumped it and engineers concerned about escaping gas removed it for about 10 hours Wednesday. Even before that latest setback, the government’s worst-case estimates suggested the cap and other equipment were capturing less than half of the oil leaking from the seafloor. And in recent days, the “spillcam” video continued to show gas and oil billowing from the well.


BP says it will soon be able to collect more spewing oil. Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young doesn’t believe it. He says the latest problem shows “they really are not up to the task and we have more bad news than we have good news.” BP officials said they sympathized and planned to do more. “Our intent is to restore the Gulf the way it was before it happened,” BP PLC managing director Bob Dudley, who has taken over the company’s spill operations, said in Washington. He said BP had asked James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Clinton administration, to review its response to the oil spill and recommend improvements.


BP shares fell sharply in London on Friday following the company’s announcement that the cost of responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak has risen to $2.35 billion. The share price dipped as low as 296.6 pence ($4.42) during morning trading, an 8.9 percent drop and the lowest for BP since August 1996.


The federal judge who struck down the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deep-water drilling in the Gulf refused to hold off his ruling while the government appeals. And environmental groups asked the court to release more information about his holdings in oil-related stocks.


Vicki Guillot has served her last seafood po-boy. The local bounty of fresh shrimp and oysters that once kept things bustling in the only restaurant in the rural Louisiana town of Gheens can no longer be harvested from the Gulf of Mexico because of the massive oil spill that has fouled the water. All her distributors can offer her now is imported shrimp at twice the price she was paying 10 weeks ago, before an oil rig explosion triggered the disaster that has dumped millions of gallons of crude off the Gulf Coast. Guillot says she can’t buy imported. And she broke down in tears in the kitchen of Debbie’s Cafe. Guillot, 49, had to close the restaurant for good Tuesday after just six months in business.


Louisiana State University’s Edward Overton once published a research article with the tongue-tangling title, “Effectiveness of Phytoremediation and Bioremediation of n-Alknaes as a Function of the length of the Carbon Chain in Wetland Environments.” He also holds a patent for something called a “Microstructure Chromatograph with Rectangular Column.” But recently, the professor emeritus reached another milestone: He appeared on David Letterman’s “Late Show” to talk in plain language about oil. Overton is one of scores of scientists who have toiled for years in obscurity and now find themselves in the middle of a media frenzy, trying to explain the Gulf oil spill to the public.

The Associated Press

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