BP Readies New Attempt To Cap Oil Spill

As the oil leak continues, BP officials are trying yet again to stem the flow. They're working on a plan that would cut the riser and cap it. Even if successful, officials admit they won't be able to totally stop the flow of oil into the Gulf.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

BP says it will soon begin a new effort to cap the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. But even it's successful, the plan would not shut down the spill. Ultimately, the oil giant says the best chance of doing that lies with two relief wells that are now being drilled, but they likely won't be ready until August.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Burris, Louisiana, the prospect of waiting another two to three months for a fix isn't sitting well with many along the Gulf Coast.

CARRIE KAHN: Plaquemines Parish police officers wearing light blue life jackets sat out on patrol today.

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KAHN: Memorial Day usually means lots of time on the water fishing. But down at the southernmost tip of Louisiana, these waters are closed to boaters. Twenty-five percent of all federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are now closed. And news that BP may not be able to completely stop the leak until August has locals here fuming.

Keith Hinkley, a councilman in Plaquemines Parish, says it's unbearable to think about having to wait that long.

Mr. KEITH HINKLEY (Councilman, Plaquemines Parish): That leaves us in a bad, dire strait right here. It's scary. We don't know where it leads us. What are the problems going to be? It's beyond our belief.

KAHN: BP's plan involves cutting the leaking riser pipe and placing a containment cap on top of it. Officials say if successful, some but not all of the oil could then be piped to the surface. But they warn that before the cap is placed on the severed pipe, the flow of oil will likely increase. And if that wasn't enough bad news, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest prediction of where the oil slick is headed. It said it may move north toward Barrier Islands off Mississippi and Alabama.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Burris, Louisiana.

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