Grand Isle Residents on Impact of Oil Spill
    2010-05-27 02:41:40     APTN      Web Editor: Jiang Aitao
 

(Video APTN)

Marking five disastrous weeks, BP on Tuesday readied yet another attempt to slow the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico following last month's explosion at an oil rig.

BP's next effort to stop the damaged oil well, perhaps Wednesday, will be to force-feed heavy drilling mud and cement into the well to plug it up.

The tactic, called a "top kill," has never been tried a mile beneath the sea, and company executives estimate its chances of success at 60 to 70 percent.

US President Barack Obama prepared to head to the Gulf on Friday to review efforts to halt the millions of gallons of contaminating crude, while scientists said underwater video of the leak showed the plume growing significantly darker, suggesting heavier, more-polluting oil is spewing out.

"Nobody is more upset than me," said Obama at a fundraiser in California on Tuesday.

"When this happens on your watch, then every day you are thinking how does this get solved."

"We are now having to do a thorough going review to see how it is that oil companies can say that they know how to handle these problems when it turns out actually that they don't," Obama added.

Millions of gallons of oil are gushing into the Gulf, endangering wildlife and the livelihoods of fishermen, as scrutiny intensifies on a lax regulatory climate.

Residents of Grand Isle, Louisiana are growing weary and frustrated.

Many claim they begged BP to clean up oil when it was still miles off Grand Isle's beaches, but now it has contaminated the waterways the community depends on to draw tourists and sustain fishermen.

"Lives have been destroyed, and a lot more lives are going to be destroyed. Wake up BP," said Lovie Verdin, a grocery store employee.

Shrimp boats are sitting idle next to the docks in the town.

Also on Tuesday, in Jackson, Mississippi, 11 men who died in the April 20 rig explosion were honoured at a sombre memorial service with tributes from country music stars and drilling company executives.

"Today we gather here as a community, a community that none of us ever wanted to be a part of, a community of loss, of remembrance, but also of hope and most of all a community of faith," said Steven Newman, CEO of Transocean Ltd., the Swiss-based owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

In Washington DC, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he has been labouring to root out problems at the agency that regulates offshore drilling.

And the American Justice Department said it will take all appropriate steps to ensure that those responsible for the blowout and oil spill are held accountable.

On Capitol Hill, American lawmakers continued to feud over a law that caps oil spill liability at 75 (m) million US dollars for economic damages beyond direct cleanup costs.

Democrats have tried to pass a bill raising the limit to 10 (b) billion US dollars but have been blocked by Republicans.

A new report from the Interior Department's acting inspector general found that an inspector for the Minerals Management Service, which oversees drilling, admitted using crystal methamphetamine and said he might have been under the influence of the drug at work.

The report cited a variety of violations of federal regulations and ethics rules at the agency's Louisiana office.

Previous inspector general investigations have focused on inappropriate behaviour by the royalty-collection staff in the agency's Denver office.

The report adds to the climate of frustration and criticism facing the Obama administration, although it covers actions before the spill.

An administration official said on Tuesday that a separate report ordered by President Obama is expected to call for tougher safety requirements for offshore drilling and a stronger inspections regime.

The Interior Department report will be delivered to Obama on Thursday and he will discuss its findings.

Obama ordered the 30-day review of offshore drilling safety procedures after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and said no new drilling leases would be allowed until it was concluded and its recomendations implemented.

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the release of report, said it would conclude that some new safety protocols
needed to be put into place.

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