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Archive for Monday, May 31, 2010

Anxiety grows over oil spill

May 31, 2010

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— After trying and trying again, one of the world’s largest corporations, backed and pushed by the world’s most powerful government, can’t stop the runaway gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

As desperation grows, the operative word now is August — the earliest moment that a real resolution could be at hand. And even then, there’s no guarantee of success. A dispiriting summer of oil and anger lies ahead.

Oh … and the Atlantic hurricane season begins Tuesday.

The latest attempt — using a remote robotic arm to stuff golf balls and assorted debris into the seafloor gash — didn’t work. On Sunday, BP PLC said it would focus on containment rather than plugging the undersea puncture wound, redirecting the mess it made rather than stopping it. Yet the plan may make the torrent worse, government officials warned Sunday.

Crude-coated birds are a frequent sight. At the sea’s bottom, no one knows what the oil will do to species like the newly discovered bottom-dwelling pancake batfish — and others unknown but just as threatened.

Scientists from several universities have reported large underwater plumes of oil stretching for miles and reaching hundreds of feet beneath the Gulf’s surface, though BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward on Sunday disputed their findings, saying the company’s tests found no such evidence of oily clouds underwater.

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