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Gulf oil spill: Smallest leak sealed off

The smallest of the three oil leaks on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico has been sealed off by robot submarines -- a move that doesn't reduce the amount of oil spilling out, but one that should make the overall effort to plug the leak less difficult, a U.S. Coast Guard official said.

The small leak -- the one furthest from the well head --was sealed off with a valve sometime between 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Brandon Blackwell said.

But the two more substantial leaks, which are farther down a collapsed riser, or pipe, that had originally connected the wellhead with the drilling rig, continue to gush oil, and the overall rate of the spill is likely the same. "It's kind of like a garden hose with three leaks in it -- you cut off this leak but you still have two more," Blackwell said.

The oil company BP has begun moving a 125-ton collection device, which resembles a big box, toward the site where the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and later sank, causing the massive leak. The company plans to lower the collection device over one of the two leaks, and have it in place by this weekend. If it is successful -- and the company has noted that no one has ever attempted this system at such a depth -- the collection device would funnel the oil into a riser that would carry the oil 5,000 feet to the surface, where it would be collected in a ship and a barge capable of storing 137,000 barrels of oil.

A collection device for the third leak is also under construction, said Marti Powers, a BP spokeswoman. That device could be in place within a week.

According to a press release Sunday on the website of the Joint Information Center, which is staffed by BP and federal officials, the system, if successful, could collect "as much as 85% of the oil rising from the seafloor." Powers could not say Wednesday if that figure referred to a scenario with one collection device in place, or both.

Officials have estimated that the leak is gushing oil at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day. But if things go badly, representatives for the companies worried that that figure could turn into 60,000 barrels a day, or 2.5 million gallons. Just four days at that rate would exceed the amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez off Alaska, the worst spill in U.S. history.

--Richard Fausset

Photo: Oil can be seen less than a quarter mile off of the east side of the Chandeleur Islands, and also on the west side. Small patches of the oil has already hit parts of the land on Chandeleur Island. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Photos: Oil spill spreads in the Gulf of Mexico

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Please no more talk of divine intervention. I believe I have a design and plan to stop this oil leak. No, not a joke scam or pipe dream. This can be done.
I will publish this within the next few days.

They are not doing everything they can because if they did it would be sealed off by now. I mean come on we can clone but we cant figure a way to cap a gushing pipe especially in this era of technology. If they cant solve a problem like this they shouldnt have drilled.

Las Vegas Review Journal

Workers cleaning up the oil in the Gulf need to be aware of the chemicals that will be used for the cleaning.
My name is Merle Savage; a female general foreman during the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill beach cleanup in 1989. I am one of the 11,000+ cleanup workers who is suffering from health issues from that toxic cleanup, without compensation from Exxon.
Dr. Riki Ott visited me in 2007 to explain about the toxic spraying on the beaches. She also informed me that Exxon's medical records that surfaced in litigation brought by sick workers in 1994, had been sealed from the public, making it impossible to hold Exxon responsible for their actions. Dr. Riki Ott has written two books; Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$ and Not One Drop. Dr. Ott quotes numerous reports in her books, on the toxic chemicals that were used during the 1989 Prince William Sound oily beach cleanup. Black Wave the Film is based on Not One Drop, with interviews of EVOS victims; my interview was featured in the section; Like a War Zone.
OSHA, the Coast Guard, and the state of Alaska authorized the procedure; Exxon contractors implemented it. Beach crews breathed in crude oil that splashed off the rocks and into the air which caused chronic breathing conditions, central nervous system problems, and other massive health issues.
My web site is devoted to searching for EVOS cleanup workers who were exposed to the toxic spraying, and are suffering from the same illnesses that I have. Our summer employment turned into a death sentence for many -- and a life of unending medical conditions for the rest of us.

Lemme see:

Bush sits in DC for four days monitoring FEMA and the people on location taking care of things -as they're supposed to. The locals (Dems) wasted prevention money for decades and hold off the feds for days. Bush gets blamed by the Progressives, the LA Times and the news media.

Obama goes on a political trip to the Midwest while the oil is gushing. Obama is pushing more oil drilling. The oil is spilling everywhere. Eventually Obama decides to halt oil drilling. The news media ignores Obama's political trip while the oil is gushing and lauds his oil exploration halt.

Double standard anyone?

Got news for ya. The GULF GUSHER was worse than the Exxon Valdez by the time it was admitted to being a leak somewhere around the end of the 3rd day...when DC got news of it.

So far as I type the volume is almost double of the Exxon Valdez. It's coming up from the bottom polluting everything on it's way up, the sub currents are spreading it all over the place, there's no end in sight in containing that gusher though it's been gushing for over 2 weeks, some sources say it's going to take 3 months or more to contain it!! The Valdez oil spill came from the top of the water and pretty well stayed there, it was almost immediately contained, and happened close enough to shore much of the sealife could swim away from it, also making it easier by 100X to clean up.

Had anything like this happened here in Alaska....we'd all be under military control for ever. Alaska has the strictest rules to follow in the world as far as resource development.

I'm praying they cap that GULF GUSHER in time to save the Gulf and Atlantic. That we the USA don't wind up in massive international lawsuits, that the US fishing industry isn't destroyed by this.

We need to do with less oil. Offshore drilling has proven not to be anything like sound judgement.

Why is no one in the media blaming Obama for the administration not being able to prevent this catastrophe? If a Republican were in office, I know the media would be lambasting him. Talk about your double standard. Hopefully, we can rally as a nation of Americans and cleans this disaster up ASAP, so that our wildlife and coastlines are not destroyed. Let's pray for divine intervention.

It may be the end of the world


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