[Updated at 10:06 p.m.] Here are the latest developments on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which began when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20:
- BP announced Wednesday that it supports the federal government's decision to proceed with the construction of six sections of the Louisiana barrier islands proposal and will fund the estimated $360 million construction cost.
- The head of Mexico's Department of the Environment and Natural Resources in Mexico says five states in Mexico are monitoring the oil spill in the event it reaches land in the country, according to state-run news agency Notimex.
- BP abandoned use of the diamond wire cutter to slice off the damaged riser pipe after it got stuck. Though the cutter was ultimately dislodged, BP's next move will be to use the cutting device that made Tuesday's cut through the riser.
- Because the cutter will not produce a smooth cut, BP will attempt to collect the spurting oil with the "top hat" instead of the Lower Marine Riser Package.
- In Louisiana, where oily sludge has been fouling coastal marshes for two weeks, state officials said the White House has given its blessing to a plan to dredge up walls of sand offshore.
- Florida was scrambling to deploy more protective boom in its westernmost counties and to get skimmer boats out onto the water to scoop up as much of the oil as possible.
- BP CEO Tony Hayward used his company's Facebook page Wednesday to apologize for saying that he "would like my life back." He had made that comment Sunday in Venice, Louisiana.
- BP will begin airing national television ads Thursday apologizing for the Gulf oil spill. Company CEO Tony Hayward appears in the ad, saying he is "deeply sorry" and that BP "will make this right."
– The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstrati0n has expanded boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the slick moving beyond the current boundaries, the agency says, bringing the total closed area to 88,502 square miles, or 37 percent of the Gulf's federal waters.
The closure, which will be effective at 6:00 p.m. ET, does not apply to state waters. The closure is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers.
The agency also reopened a 2,637 square-mile area of the westernmost boundary south of Louisiana. Oil was projected to be in this area, but was never actually observed there. More information is available here.
– BP's underwater robots have freed the snared diamond wire cutting saw that was being used to cut off the damaged riser pipe so that a cap could be placed on the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.
- President Barack Obama used the oil spill crisis to advance his alternative energy agenda Wednesday, calling it a warning that America needs to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels.
- The U.S. government closed another portion of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing Wednesday, extending the restrictions deeper into the Gulf and eastward along the Florida Panhandle.
– Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, has formalized his request that President Barack Obama consider "more fully involving the Department of Defense" to help establish a more robust response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to a letter obtained by CNN.
– Mats of weathered oil and tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon spill could hit the western Florida Panhandle "in a day or two," Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday. Sheen from the leading edge of the spill was spotted just short of 10 miles from Florida shores Tuesday night, and "thousands of tar balls" were in the water with it, Crist told reporters Wednesday morning.
- BP's latest effort to cap the spewing well stalled Wednesday after after the blade of a diamond wire saw got stuck, said U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's point man on the oil spill. The saw was being used to slice off the damaged riser pipe before positioning a cap on the well. Allen said how well that cap fits and stops oil from gushing depends on how smoothly the riser pipe is cut.
"It's a question of how much precision we can bring to it," he said.
The breached well has spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day since late April after an explosion on a leased oil rig. BP officials have said the cut and cap procedure carries the risk that the flow of crude from the ruptured well could increase by up to 20 percent once the cut to the damaged riser is made.
- Weather forecasters predicted changing wind patterns could push oil eastward in the Gulf, putting the Florida Panhandle and the state's west coast at risk.
– PREVIOUSLY REPORTED CLEAN-UP
- A new flow of oil emerged from BP's damaged undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday evening after a remote-controlled submarine successfully cut into the well's riser pipe.
- Mississippi closes some inland waterways to fishing after oil is found in the area.
- Oil washes ashore on Dauphin Island, an Alabama barrier island, and on Mississippi barrier island Petit Bois, west of Dauphin.
- The state of Louisiana plans to conduct an investigation to try to determine why some oil spill recovery workers fell ill, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said Wednesday.
- "Avatar" director James Cameron was among a group of 20 top scientists, engineers and technical experts who met with officials from a number of federal agencies to discuss ways to stop the massive oil leak. Cameron designed a number of cameras, robots, probes, etc., for underwater scenes in his movies, including "The Abyss" and "Titanic."
- BP has begun its latest attempt to curtail the flow of oil from the ruptured underwater well, using robot submarines to cut into a damaged pipe a mile down.
- Process could increase flow of oil, but BP says next step - a cap over the leak - will capture most, but not all, of the flow.
- Tuesday marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, prompting more worries about the spread of the spill.
- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the massive oil spill spreading through the Gulf of Mexico.
- Justice Department lawyers are examining possible violations of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Migratory Bird Treaty and Endangered Species Acts.
- BP responded in a statement that it "will cooperate with any inquiry the Department of Justice will undertake, just as we are doing in response to the other inquires that are already ongoing."
- President Obama said Tuesday he expects a new presidential commission tasked with investigating how to prevent future oil spills to "follow the facts wherever they may lead" and report back to him in six months.
- Administration announces it has ended joint news briefings with BP. All government briefings will be handled by incident commander Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen.
- The federal government has now closed 31 percent of the Gulf to fishing. The latest closure extends the restricted zone deeper into the southeastern Gulf, reaching roughly 240 miles west of Key West, Florida, at its farthest point. It also moves eastward, closing federal waters off the Alabama coast to the Florida state line, NOAA reported.
- BP said it has spent $990 million on the spill since it started, including cost of spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to Gulf Coast states, claims paid and federal costs. It does not include a $500 million commitment over 10 years BP made to fund an open research program studying the effects of the incident on the marine and shoreline environment of the Gulf of Mexico.