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Oil gushing from the well before the containment cap  (Source: CalFinder)

New containment cap  (Source: xinhuanet)
New containment cap stopped the leak, but the job isn't finished yet

Just five days shy of three months since the oil leak started in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, and 184 million gallons of oil spilled later, BP finally found a solution that successfully contained the oil. 

The 75-ton containment cap placed over the damaged oil well earlier this week has undergone an extensive 48-hour testing period in hopes of a successful end result. Thankfully, this method worked. For the first time since the leak erupted 85 days ago, oil has finally stopped flowing to the surface of the Gulf.

But plugging the oil well is only the beginning of resolving this environmental disaster. Now that the containment cap is placed and doing its job, engineers will begin monitoring pressure gauges making sure that there are no leaks elsewhere. The worst case scenario right now is that pressure from the oil under the containment cap could damage the well further, which would lead to oil spilling out from other areas on the sea floor. 

So the waiting game begins. Any signs of new leaks will means engineers will have to reopen the cap and let oil spill into the Gulf once again. The engineers are hoping that the well holds out for the next two days of close observation, but even if it does hold out, they have to conduct a seismic survey of the ocean floor to make sure oil isn't escaping from the well into the bedrock, and in order to conduct such a survey, engineers have to open the vents again, which releases more oil.

"For the people living on the Gulf, I'm certainly not going to guess their emotions," said Kent Wells, BP vice president. "I hope they're encouraged there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. But we have to be careful. Depending on what the test shows us, we may need to open this well back up."

Those surrounding the Gulf like fisherman and restauranteurs, who have lost their jobs due to the oil leak, have shown mixed reviews on the new containment cap solution. Some are relieved while others don't trust BP enough to rest assure that this is a permanent solution. 

Others, such as Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, showed a greater sense of relief that BP has closed off the well.

"That's great," said Riley. "I think a lot of prayers were answered today."

The video feed on BP's website showed the oil cloud, which has been gushing ever since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, thin and eventually fade out at 2:25 pm CDT. The containment cap in place is designed to restrict oil from entering the ocean by restraining it inside the well and also allowing ships at the surface to siphon oil from inside of it. 

The containment cap seems to be doing its job for the time being, but it is not a permanent solution to this catastrophe. BP is currently drilling two relief wells, due to be completed in mid August, which will pump cement and mud into the well with the idea of plugging it permanently. After this is accomplished, a mass clean-up, expected to take years, will take place in the Gulf.

Every little bit counts, and in this case, a huge weight has been lifted off of many shoulders today, even if it is temporary. Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, which is a trade group representing the offshore oil industry, noted that "industry officials and their families are taking a big sigh," but to others, the damage has already been done and the last thing anyone should do is assume that this has been taken care of.

"I think it's a little premature to say it's definitely over," said Steve Shepard, Gulf Coast chairman of the Mississippi Chapter of the Sierra Club. "They've gotten our hopes up so many times before that in my mind I don't think it's going to be over until Christmas."

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RE: Loving Obama
By Anoxanmore on 7/16/2010 4:33:17 PM , Rating: 1
Make up stories? A Democrat Senator taking a couple of reporters out to see the mess was made up? Come up for air.

You said I had a bias towards Obama, I called you on that by saying I didn't vote for him, in addition to the fact the right wing media had to make up lies as well. :) See how that works?
But they'll a US Senator go on a fireworks barge? False argument

I'd highly suggest you read up what a false analogy is before you comment on one. In this case it is a very legitimate comparison since we are referring to safety standards with natural disasters, the same regulations required for Katrina after the storm had passed. The reason the media was able to report like that did, a bunch of them got stuck there during the storm. :)
And the scale has what to do with it? Oh the NEWS STORY. Again False argument. And it IS, PARTIALLY the Feds fault. They were about to give them a safety award, lack of inspections, with help from environmentalists they pushed drillers from known safe drilling depths out into very deep waters. BP holds the biggest chunk of fault but to ignore the Feds, and environmentalists, role is glaringly ignorant

Again false argument, if the area is unsafe for the Press what makes it safe for the Senator or his staff?

You keep using those words, I do not think they mean what you think they mean.
This is in the open sea not on a military base though we do allow the press into far more dangerous combat zones. The press was restricted from seeing something that was not "unsafe" but held back for political reasons. Pull your head out.

It doesn't matter where it is, if there is a disaster and they require the press a certain amount of distance away, the press had better respect it, especially if they want tours and locations they have the means and access to get where they want. Doing it secretly is without journalistic merit, I wish you could see the egg on your face at this point, but alas there are no mirrors.

RE: Loving Obama
By knutjb on 7/16/2010 5:15:06 PM , Rating: 3
False arguments, fallacies, are points in your argument that do not support what you proclaim and detract from them.

None of your arguments have justified why the media were, at the last minute, excluded from going out with the Senator.

The reason is political: "They said it was the Department of Homeland Security’s response-wide policy not to allow elected officials and media on the same 'federal asset,'" said Bryan Gulley, a spokesman for the senator.

My point that it wasn't a safety decision but a political one is well supported in that comment. I watched a number of news reports from reporters who went with elected officials to view the mess on government vessels. So why did Homeland Security really stop the NY Times from riding with Senator Nelson? We let the press into war zones but not out for a boat ride on a Coast Guard boat with a Senator. It smell fishy.

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