Wednesday: BP Crews Wait Out Storm; Pakistani President Defends Trip
Crews in the Gulf of Mexico drilling the final feet of a relief well intended to permanently plug BP’s oil well will have to wait two to three days as a tropical depression passes over the site.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said crews have about 30 to 50 feet left to drill.
Meantime, hundreds of federal lawsuits filed over the oil leak will be handled by one judge in New Orleans, a judicial panel announced Tuesday. The choice of New Orleans as the site is being seen as a significant defeat for BP and other companies being sued.
Judge Carl J. Barbier, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, has already been handling a number of individual oil cases, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The Times-Picayune also reports on “Rig Row,” the shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., that is home to drilling rigs left idle because of the moratorium on deep-water drilling:
“These days, one of these floating cities coming into port is hardly a singular sight. … Lined up there, towering above the flat coastal community, they’re beginning to resemble the strips of hotels and casinos seen in swankier Gulf Coast locales.”
NPR reports on President Obama’s approach to domestic oil drilling, which has “managed to anger just about everyone in the oil drilling debate at one time or another.”
Pakistani President Defends Trip During Floods
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is defending his decision to travel abroad while the country battled the worst floods in decades. Zardari said he had helped focus international attention on the victims.
“Some have criticized my decision, saying it represented aloofness, but I felt that I had to choose substance over symbolism,” Zardari wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
The United Nations says about 1,600 people have been killed and 14 million people affected by the floods.
Landslides Kill 1,117 in China
The death toll from weekend flooding in northwestern China that triggered massive landslides jumped to 1,117 and the hopes of finding more survivors faded, reports the Associated Press. At least 627 people were still missing, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday night, citing local officials.