BP is proceeding with a critical test of its crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico - a test that could show whether an end finally is in sight to the environmental disaster that's been unfolding for nearly three months.
The U.S. government told BP Tuesday to proceed with an "integrity" test on the well in the Gulf of Mexico, and BP began the process of shutting off valves on its new capping stack, to see whether the well can hold the pressure.
It's hoped the tests will show whether the well can be contained, either by closing the 30-foot, 75-ton cap stack or siphoning off oil to the surface.
That would signal a beginning of an end to the catastrophe that began when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and launching the relentless oil spill. But even if the well is contained, the cleanup could take years.