BP and the federal government fight over the cap

GULF OF MEXICO - After months of struggling to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico BP has finally capped the leak. Now there is a disagreement between BP and the federal government as to whether or not the leak should remain blocked off or if it should be opened to prevent too much pressure from building beneath the sea floor.

The federal government is afraid that the increased pressure beneath the sea floor could lead to multiple cracks in the surface which would make the disaster even harder to deal with than the single leaking pipe. BP does not want the added negative publicity of re-opening the spewing well.

“No one associated with this whole activity... wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, said Sunday. “Right now we don’t have a target to return the well to flow.”

An Obama administration official familiar with the leak oversight, said that a seep and possible methane were found near the busted oil well. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.

Since pressure readings on the cap were not as high as expected, the concern has been that there was a leak elsewhere that is helping to ease the pressure on the cap.

The federal government’s point man for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill says he is authorized BP to keep the cap on its busted well for another 24 hours after the company pledged to closely monitor the sea floor for signs of a new leak.

In a statement issued Monday, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says a federal science team held a conference call with BP representatives Sunday night. He says the scientists got answers they wanted about how BP is monitoring the seabed in case any new leaks erupt from the capped well.’

Allen says in his Monday statement that he will only allow the cap to stay on if BP continues meeting its obligations to watch for signs that it could possibly worsen the situation.

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