BP Attempts Static Kill To Permanently Plug Damaged Oil Well

The news is good so far in the Gulf . . . . finally!

BP began plugging the damaged oil well today with a “static kill” by pumping mud into it. Early reports are encouraging.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Wednesday he has “high confidence” that no more oil will leak from BP’s Gulf of Mexico well, hours after BP announced that the well had reached “static condition” after pumping heavy drilling mud into it.

BP called the outcome a “significant milestone” in its efforts to permanently seal the well.

The energy giant began the “static kill” procedure at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and workers stopped pumping mud in after about eight hours after the effort achieved its “desired outcome.”

Let’s hope we’ve seen the end of this nightmare.

Earth Day today!

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Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22 every year. We’ve come very far in 40 years in terms of individuals making a positive impact on the environment, particularly on cleaner air and water, but in many ways the challenges today are even greater.

Adam Rose has a great posted on Wired.com about the significance of the original Earth Day.

Larry Carroll offers up Earth Day lessons to be learned from the movie “Avatar.”

BusinessWeek explains how “air like split-pee soup” in LA helped spur the first Earth Day.

USA Today asks if at 40 Earth Day has gone too corporate.

There are tons of great articles out there, and frankly this is an exciting time as new technologies and a new commitment from government is spurring a real effort to accelerate the changes made over the past 40 years.

Don’t drink the water!

This is a very sad story from The New York Times. It’s stunning that we still have issues with contaminated drinking water in the United States. On the other hand, with so many corporate interests undermining common sense regulation, it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. Remember the all the issues with financial regulation? It seems like we’re having the same problems here.

Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va.

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.

“How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state’s largest banks.

She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of Appalachia. Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from her home.

“How is this still happening today?” she asked.

When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals — the same pollutants that flowed from residents’ taps.

Hopefully the EPA in the Obama administration will push for real enforcement.

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