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BP resumes ‘top kill’ procedure after failing to stop leak

BP has failed to stanch a massive oil spill gushing out into the fragile waters along the Louisiana coastline after launching an ambitious effort Thursday to fill the blown-out well bore with mud.

The Times-Picayune reported that BP acknowledged the failure and was mulling its next step, including resuming the “top kill” procedure.

“We understand where we stand today,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, said. “The well continues to flow.”

This follows news that Obama has fired the director of the Minerals Management Service, S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, whose leadership of the agency has been sharply criticized, according to the New York times:

Agency scientists and other employees complained that since taking the post in July, Ms. Birnbaum has done almost nothing to fix problems that have plagued the minerals agency for over a decade. She rarely visited the agency’s far-flung offices, so few staff members have ever seen her. The same agency managers who during the Bush administration ignored or suppressed scientists’ concerns about the safety and environmental risks of some off-shore drilling plans are still there doing the same things, they said.

Birnbaum is certainly not the only official whose handling of the oil spill has been under fire. The majority of Americans rate Obama’s response poorly, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released today.

But most Americans fault BP and the federal government more than Obama,  the LA Times reports:

Though critical of Obama, voters were even harsher about the federal government and BP, the owner of the well. According to the poll, 60% said the federal response was poor and 73% blamed BP.

The findings are based on telephone interviews conducted May 24, and May 25, before the current “top kill” effort to staunch the flow of oil into the gulf.

Initially the top kill effort seemed to have successfully stopped some of the oil flow, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. The spill has leaked somewhere between 18 and 28 million gallons into the Gulf, according to the most current estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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