As BP oil spill fight continues, more areas closed to the public
As efforts continue to stop the flow from the BP oil spill, areas used for recreation and fishing are being closed to public access. It's a blow to recreational and commercial fishing businesses.
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The latest technology being used is a four-story containment dome, which was placed into the water on the way to the ocean’s floor Thursday to stop the oil from spreading.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Louisiana oil spill
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Adm. Landry warned that the dome “is not the final solution” or a substitute for “cementing and closing off this well.” She added that because the technology is experimental, there will likely be complications. Already it is known the dome will only be placed over a single leak. If successful, a second dome will be constructed to cover the remaining leak.
“This is going to take a few days. It may or may not work,” she said.
Besides a call for Senate hearings and talk from the White House about raising the liability cap required by BP to cover damages to local communities, federal officials are stepping up pressure on the oil industry by demanding safety inspections of 30 deepwater facilities that operate in Gulf waters. The results of the inspection will be issued soon, Landry said.
On Thursday US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a three-week halt to all new oil drilling permits. However the ban does not affect an existing permit for Shell Oil to begin offshore oil drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea in July.
Environmental groups cheered news of the moratorium but said it did not go far enough, and they criticized President Obama’s decision in March to open up offshore drilling in Alaska, the eastern Gulf, and the Atlantic Coast.
Shipping through the Mississippi River continues at full speed, despite the oil spill.
The coast guard has constructed facilities near the river’s mouth to spray all vessels of possible oil contaminant as they pass through.
“They haven’t had to clean a ship yet,” says Robert Scafidel, executive director of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, about 15 miles outside New Orleans. “We don’t want to see the coast with oil. But right now it looks like the deepwater vessels are clean.”