The US government has intensified its pressure on British Petroleum to plug the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Fines and penalties are now certain to be imposed on the energy giant.
The company is to make a further attempt tomorrow to cap the leak, using heavy mud and cement to stop the flow, but admits only a 60 to 70 per cent chance of success.
The spill’s impact on shore now stretches across 240 kilometres of US coastline, with oil pushing inland into marsh nesting sites. Fishing disasters have been declared in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is continuing to take a tough line.
“Under the law, BP is the responsible party. BP is charged with capping their leaking oil well and paying for the response and the recovery without limitation. They will be accountable. We will keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done,” said Salazar.
Making their own point, environmental activists Greenpeace used oil from the spill to paint an anti-drilling message on a Louisiana supply ship bound for Alaska. Energy company Shell, which owns the vessel, is currently investigating drilling operations in the remote region.