New Orleans, La. – June first marks the first day of hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico. So far, weather has mostly been calm, but stormy conditions have kept skimmers off choppy waters for days at a time since the drilling rig exploded three weeks ago. But Coast Guard Rear Mary Landry says coastal communities are well-trained in handling hurricane conditions.
New Orleans, La. – Crews are laying booms off wetlands and watching shoreline from Louisiana to Florida, but tracking the movement of four million gallons of oil swirling in a plume underwater is proving to be a tough assignment. BP executive Doug Suttles says crews remain on standby along hundreds of miles of the Gulf Coast.
New Orleans, La. – Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles says the dome called a "top hat" could be placed over the leaking pipes and be hooked up to a surface ship. Or engineers could link the contraption to the pipe itself.
"One version is actually a collection devise, the other is a piece of pipe we intend to insert into the riser to try to collect the oil from inside the riser and bring it to the drill ship."
New Orleans, La. – Serpas took his oath of office from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who campaigned that stemming violent crime would be his top priority. He says he chose Serpas because of his achievements in that area as chief of police in Nashville, where he just left. And Serpas grew up in New Orleans and understands the culture. Serpas says his mission is clear.
New Orleans, La. – BP is sticking with the idea of containing the oil offshore with a cap and plug. It will be shipping a much smaller dome it calls a "top hat" to cap leaking pipes, while engineers prepare to plug the leak itself with scraps of material, called a junk shot. Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles cautions that both are untried remedies for a leak a mile under water.
New Orleans, La. – BP is calling the smaller dome a "top hat." It's 4-feet-by-five-feet and weighs a fraction of the first four-story unit now off to the side. BP executive Doug Suttles says the smaller unit should be easier to install a mile below the surface. He says it will be equipped to prevent the icy slush that lifted the giant dome off the ocean floor. He says BP will also try plugging the leak with debris - called a junk shot.
New Orleans, La. – Top-level executives from BP and Transocean of Houston, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf, are scheduled to testify at two Senate committee hearings this week. They could be asked about reports that BP executives aboard the Deepwater Horizon were celebrating the company's safety record just as the April 20th explosion ripped the rig apart. BP executive Doug Suttles confirmed the celebration did take place.
New Orleans, La. – Sierra Club President Allison Chin says the organization sent out an online emergency call for volunteers, and 25,000 signed up. It's not clear yet what those volunteers will do - or can do - at the site of the spill. She says it's vital that volunteers at least keep the disaster in the forefront of national discussions.
"It will go on. It's got to go on. This is going to, unfortunately, impact communities for decades."