Cleaning the BP mess: this is what happens to our beaches

Over one month after the initial explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, crude oil continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. According to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, more than 65 miles of Louisiana's shoreline has now been oiled.

BP announced this morning that it was once again delaying its attempt to shut off the leak. The oil company has been planning to attempt a procedure known as a top kill, in which heavy fluid would be pumped into the well.

A top kill has been tried on land but never 5,000 feet underwater, so scientists and engineers have spent the past week preparing and taking measurements to make sure it will stop the oil that has been spewing into the sea for a month.

They originally hoped to try it as early as this weekend. BP spokesman Tom Mueller said there was no snag in the preparations, but that the company must get equipment in place and finish tests before the procedure can begin.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson is currently in the affected area, having returned for her third visit to the Gulf Coast since the disaster. She will be monitoring the response efforts and talking with residents about the spill's effect on the region. The spill has tainted 150 miles of coastline in two states and penetrated more than 12 miles into Louisiana's sensitive wetlands.

The Surfrider Foundation is calling on concerned citizens to get involved and send a strong message to President Obama that new offshore drilling is not the answer.

BP oil spill: what now?

In the first sign of progress toward containing the oil gushing from a blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers on Sunday inserted a tube into the leaking pipe and began siphoning some of the oil to a barge at the surface.

If it works, the inserted pipe could keep a substantial amount of the oil out of the sea. This news follows reports that scientists are finding enormous oil plumes below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots.

The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.

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Oil drilling: no longer a safe option

In the wake of yesterday's failed attempt to place a containment dome over the breach of the Macondo well (as they are referring to it now), BP is now proposing a new idea - something called a "junk shot."

The effort quite literally involves taking junk - shredded automobile tires, golf balls and other debris - and trying to jam it into the opening of the leak to clog the flow of oil. That's all we ocean full of oil and trash!

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