By David Gura

Good morning.

In the Gulf of Mexico, BP continues to attempt a "top kill" on the leaking oil well there. The company says that "operations continued over the night and are ongoing." Aside from that, BP isn't saying much. "There are no significant events at this time. BP will provide updates on progress as appropriate."

In other words, the waiting game continues.

The Washington Post, which calls the maneuver "hazardous-but-high-reward," reports that "billowing plumes of effluent from cracks in the top of the riser pipe no longer look like oil and gas but have a distinctly muddy appearance." (Having given a cursory look at the so-called "Spillcam" this morning, I can confirm reporter Joel Achenbach observation.)

According to The Times-Picayune, citing BP CEO Doug Suttles, by the end of the day yesterday, "the company had pumped about 7,000 barrels of mud into the well at up to 65 barrels per minute."

That's a lot of mud.

Meanwhile, according to NPR's David Schaper, the oil spill from the blown-out well has begun to destroy critical habitat for birds, mammals and marine wildlife, as it seeps deeper into Louisiana's fragile marshes. And unfortunately for flora and fauna on the Gulf coast, there is no easy, certain remedy:

Rakes and pressure hoses, like those used to clean the rocks and sandy Alaska shores after the Exxon Valdez spill, would tear the Louisiana marshes apart.
Heavy machinery is out of the question, and even people walking into the marshes might do as much damage as the oil.

Other stories making headline this morning:

--Los Angeles Times--"U.S. to suspend new exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic": Later today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is expected to postpone oil drilling in the Arctic. He will "halt permit approvals for new exploratory drilling this summer in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas so that additional information can be gathered on proposed drilling technology and to evaluate what capability exists to respond to an oil spill in often ice-laden Arctic waters," The Times reports.

--The Washington Post--"President Obama's national security strategy looks beyond military might": Later today, the president will release the document, the first of his administration. In her preview, The Post's Karen DeYoung gives us a sense of its thrust: "Military superiority is not enough to maintain U.S. strength and influence in the world, and the United States must build global institutions and expand international partnerships beyond its traditional allies."

NPR's Ari Shapiro, reporting from the White House, notes that, for the first time, the strategy talks about homegrown terrorism.

--The Gleaner--"Morgues Almost Full": The Jamaican newspaper reports that "mounting casualties from the massive offensive by the security forces on Tivoli Gardens have put morgues on the brink of overflowing." The government disputes The Gleaner's assessment. In Kingston, several dozen people are dead, many others are injured, and several hundred have been detained.

NPR's Jason Beaubien, reporting from the country's capital, says that police and Jamaican soldiers have encircled the Tivoli Gardens. Bus service has resumed, the airport has reopened, and Information Minister Daryl Vaz says police will allow shopkeepers to return downtown this morning.

The New York Times has a good summary of the case the United States built against Christopher Coke, which led its request for the gang leader's extradition.

--The Wall Street Journal--"Apple Tops Microsoft in the Market": When the markets closed yesterday, Microsoft "lost its grip on the title of most valuable technology company," The Journal reports. "Apple -- for now -- is the new king."

At the close of trading, a small decline in Apple shares combined with a 4% drop in Microsoft's stock to leave Apple's market value ahead -- at nearly $223 billion compared with about $219 billion for Microsoft.

On its website, Wired highlights the "7 Key Turning Points That Made Apple No. 1," beginning with the company's decision to re-hire Steve Jobs, its founder.

categories: Environment

7:45 - May 27, 2010