Energy & Environment

BP gives up 'top kill,' moves on to next option

A "top kill" procedure to stop the flow of oil has failed and British Petroleum will try another way. 

"After three full days of attempting top kill we have been unable to overcome the flow from the well so we now believe it's time to move on to the next of our options," chief operating officer Doug Suttles said Saturday evening during a press conference. 

After numerous attempts to overcome the flow and after significant review BP and industry engineers as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Department Secretary Stephen Chu and other Obama administration officials, the decision was made to move on with the next option, Suttles said. 

Rear Adm. Mary Landry said she was "very disappointed" but made assurances that a "very aggressvie response posture" is being taken to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico's waters. 

"There's no silver bullet to stop this leak," she said. 


BP's latest efforts haven't stopped flow of oil

The flow of oil hasn't been stopped by British Petroleum's latest attempt to plug the gushing well. 

The "top kill" operation doesn't appear to be working yet and BP is planning its next move, chief operating officer Doug Suttles said Saturday. 

"I don't think the amount of oil coming out has changed," he said. "Just by watching it, we don't believe it's changed." 

BP engineers have tried several different ways to stem the flow of the well, which is a mile under the surface. Millions of gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf of Mexico's waters since the rig blew up and sank April 20, killing 11 employees. 

The next option is called the lower-marine-riser package cap, in which an underwater robot uses a saw to cut the leaking pipe and put a cap over it. 

"If we have to go to it, we can do it as quickly as possible," Suttles said. 


BP contractor denies extra workers hired for Obama's visit

An independent contractor hired by British Petroleum to clean up the oil spill, denied today that extra people were sent to the Louisiana coast to prepare for President Barack Obama's visit Friday. 

Although Donald Nulty of Environmental Safety and Health denied accusations that extra workers were hired to be on hand for Obama's arrival, he did say Saturday that his company decided to send 400 workers to to Grand Isle, Louisiana several days before they knew about the visit. 

"Absolutely, without a doubt, no. I had no idea about the president," Nalty told CNN today. "Whether it's the president or whatever dignitary is coming into the area, it makes no difference to us. We're there to clean up Grand Isle."

Councilman Chris Roberts of Jefferson Parish, said BP brought in additional workers to Grand Isle then sent them away after the president left town. 

Cross-posted from E2-Wire. 


Whitman Warns of 'Big Leap' for Obama Energy Pick

Former Bush administration Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christis Todd Whitman warned President-elect Obama's pick to head the Department of Energy may have a lot of on-the-job learning to do next year.

Obama chose Nobel physicist Steven Chu to head up the Energy Department.

"It's a big leap from the academic world to the administrative world," Whitman said during an MSNBC appearance.

"He's certainly going to know how to analyze the issues,

Obama, Biden to Meet with Gore

President-elect Obama's transition team said Monday that Obama and Vice President-elect Biden will meet with former Vice President Al Gore in Chicago on Tuesday.

The president-elect and the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee are scheduled to discuss "energy and climate change and how policies in this area can stimulate the economy and create jobs."

After Obama won the presidency early last month, Gore publicly declined any role in the administration as a climate change czar.

-Sam Youngman

Chertoff: Illegal Immigrants 'Degrade' Environment

Illegal immigrants "degrade the environment," according to Homeland Security Sec. Michael Chertoff, speaking to the Associated Press.

"Illegal migrants really degrade the environment. I've seen pictures of human waste, garbage, discarded bottles and other human artifact in pristine areas," Chertoff told the AP. "And believe me, that is the worst thing you can do to the environment."

Chertoff was defending the need for a "virtual fence" on the border between the United States and Mexico, which he implied would be an environmental boon in border areas. Some opponents say such barriers are harmful to the environment.

Over 150 miles of fence had been constructed through last week, Chertoff said, less than half of the 370 miles of actual fencing Homeland Security hopes to construct.

-Michael O'Brien


John McCain's back-and-forth over whether he would use public financing for his campaign is bugging Jane Hamsher. She has complained to the Federal Election Commission that the Republican violated the primary spending cap he agreed to without being punished. In another post, Hamsher writes that Common Cause has the same worries, and has let McCain know about them.