June 2nd, 2010
08:39 PM ET

Day 44: Gulf oil disaster latest developments

[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.


- 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.

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. jim d

    There is still one other problem besides the horror of this mess, it's the chemicals being used to help disperse the oil. I think everyone remembers or has at least heard of the problems caused by Agent Orange back in the 60's. While during my RVN tour we asked if that stuff was safe, the Military and Government told us not to worry. 40 years later people are dying from that stuff...................just a thought.

    June 3, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Portland Citizen

    I know nothing about engineering, but I keep thinking about the basics. Oil floats – can't we buy time by using barriers that are solid on top and screen below. Doesn't someone want to mass produce something that can protect our shores? Feeling helpless...

    June 3, 2010 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. jeff


    June 3, 2010 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Maynardmc

    There is a bolted flange on top of the BOP. Remove the bolts and riser pipe. Cut off the inner pipe. Bolt on a flanged valve in the wide open position. This will alow the valve to be swun into place and oil will flow thru it until all the bolts are in place and tight. Then close the valve to stop the flow.

    June 3, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve Safford

    I don't understand why BP or other oil companies have not installed some form of a valve just below the ocean floor to shut off in case of an emergency such as the Gulf spill? I live around the Gulf area and we are all wondering when the damage reaches Panama City or even further? People report of dead birds washing up on shore already now!

    blog me: http://shsafford807.blog.com/2010/05/25/internet-marketing-101/#comments

    June 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • hades

      To err is ....yadayada ...Deadlines to be met yada yada . Looking at Bp's track record not a goodin but with the amount of money it makes.These blips can be rolled over but could this blip be the stopper.

      June 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. engineer

    To stop the oil in only 2 days: Drill a hole 50 feet deep at a distance of 10 feet from the blowout preventers. Fill the hole with ~200 to 500 pounds of high explosive this will most likely cause the well pipe to close and stop the leak. You can see how it can be done here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuJETgpozOw

    June 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • hades

      Always with the bombs do you have a back up if you bombs open up the proverbial .What do you propose we do after that
      get bigger bombs.Id rather we deal with a hole this size.

      June 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hos Martys

    Besides the disaster in the Gulf, which continues to depress us, there is the schizophrenic, lunatic fringe that says it it has the skinny on whom to blame primarily for why oil is gushing out 5,000 feet below the Gulf's surface. It is frightful to know that the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and Hannity can convince themselves and others that our chief focus should be on the White House and environmentalists for the blame rather than that we should place major blame on BP for the cause, with a lot of well-deserved blame placed against both parties of Congress, too.

    Here is a "message" that can be made: Seize all of BP's assets and use them to do as much as humanly possible to clean up the Gulf mess, and to remunerate those who have a significant history for their having made a livelihood in the Gulf, doing so until such time as they can return to a livelihood that assures them (modest) homes, enough food, health care, decent clothing, and (reasonable, normative) energy consumption . Also, jail the BP executives and engineers responsible for flagrant, criminal negligence that brought about the disaster. Next, Congress should put in place a much more stringent monitoring of oil-industry practices; there should exist an agency with really big teeth, one that is not in bed with the oil industry, and one truly willing to order an immediate shutdown of any noncompliant operation(s). The situation in the Gulf illustartes a case for where more competent governance of the industry can be a boon, because, clearly, lack of good governance by oil-independent decision makers has brought upon us this disaster. Make certain that this agency's enforcers know that they will not only be fired for any dereliction of duty, but that they stand to be prosecuted for what may be proved as their cozying up to oil-industry execs.

    June 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
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