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Gulf oil spill: Six-month milestone brings disaster back in focus

October 19, 2010 |  1:33 pm


How time flies when you're up to your gills in oil.

Wednesday marks the six-month milestone of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 men and was responsible for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Greenpeaceis highlighting the occasion by sending a two-person submarine down in the vicinity of the BP well that blew out April 20, nearly a mile below the Gulf of Mexico's surface. The expedition comes at the tail end of the group's trip through the spill area to study the effects of the 205.8 million gallons of oil that flowed unabated for about three months before the well was capped and eventually sealed permanently.

The sub will dive to about 1,750 feet to examine deep-sea corals, according to Greenpeace.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) lashed out at BP Group Chief Executive Robert Dudley for continuing to decline to testify before Markey's Energy and Environment subcommittee. 

"Six months ago, BP’s Macondo well began its months-long eruption into the Gulf of Mexico. Now that Mr. Dudley has taken the reins of BP, he can at least dedicate a few hours to answering questions about his company’s efforts to clean up the gulf region and prevent future incidents,” Markey said in a statement Tuesday. “This is a somber anniversary, and one that should remind the American people that the work to restore the gulf is far from over.”

Dudley responded last month to Markey's offer to schedule testimony on Sept. 16, 21, 22 or 23rd, saying he would be taking the helm as of Oct. 1 and "will need to focus my full attention on ensuring a smooth and effective transition into the chief executive role and will therefore unfortunately be unavailable to attend the hearing."

-- Geoff Mohan

Photo: A Greenpeace member works on a submarine that is being used to explore effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Sean Gardner/Greenpeace