Oil spill: news update

BP is preparing to lower a new cap on the well spewing out oil in the Gulf of Mexico following an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig more than three weeks ago, says Reuters. In addition, BP will try to stop the oil spill using a “junk shot”, writes the Boston Herald. Objects of all shapes, including bits of tyres, golf balls and rope knots, will be shot into the blowout preventer and then sealed off with mud and cement in a bid to clog the leak.

The Obama administration’s request to provide economic assistance to people affected by the spill was approved yesterday by a Senate panel, reports Reuters. Some US$68 million (464 million yuan) will be channelled to the needy through funds and grants – money the Senate expects the three companies involved in the spill, BP, Halliburton and Transocean, to pay back.

But, states the Daily World, the economy of the area is being further threatened by the blame game being played out between this trio of firms, which are the focus of ongoing congressional hearings on the explosion. If BP does not accept responsibility for the disaster, the report says, it might refuse to finance the expensive cleanup, thereby endangering the seafood and tourism industries.

AOL News offers more gloom with predictions that the impact of the explosion on the delicate estuaries of the Louisiana coast could be even worse than originally feared. The good news is that samples taken from the spill have shown the oil is relatively nontoxic. But the fragile state of the coastline following recent hurricanes – and the likelihood of yet more bad weather – means the entire marshland could be at risk of destruction.