Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Top kill" success on oil leak still unknown

BP on Wednesday began its "top kill" procedure for trying to stop an oil well leak in the Gulf of Mexico that threatens Florida's coast. There was no word whether the procedure was working.

The top kill involves pumping dense oil drilling "mud" and concrete through a malfunctioning blow-out preventer device. A BP official said during an 8 p.m. news conference that the procedure was continuing as expected but the outcome could not be determined yet.

The spill began April 20 following an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. No oil from the leak has been confirmed on Florida's beaches, state officials said.

The state on Tuesday received $25 million from BP to launch an advertising campaign to let would-be visitors know that the beaches are clean and the fish are biting.

Meanwhile, the state continues to review and approve plans for deploying boom to protect the coast should oil approach Florida, said Mike Sole, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The "top kill" procedure is the best hope for the state while a relief well is being dug to permanently seal the well in August, Sole said.

In Washington, U. S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Melbourne, co-filed legislation to stop what he called a "revolving door" between regulators in the federal Minerals Management Service and the oil and gas industry. A drilling regulator who made any kind of false statement could face up to 15 years in prison under the bill.

(Story provided by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

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