• Are We Maybe Almost About to Not Have a Gaping Hole Spewing Toxic Petroleum into Our Ocean?

    According to reports this morning, it would appear as though we're maybe nearing the end of this one particular aspect of this one particular ecological catastrophe…

    With a new, tighter-fitting cap in place on its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP prepared on Tuesday to test whether the gusher could be stopped completely…

    [BP executive Kent] Wells said at a briefing in Houston that the installation of the new cap was completed Monday evening, ahead of schedule. "It really went extremely well," he said. "But we know that the job's not over yet."

    If the tests on the well show the pressure rising and holding — an indication that the well is intact, with no significant damage to the casing pipe that runs the length of the well bore to 13,000 feet below the seafloor — BP, working with government scientists, could decide to leave the valves closed, effectively shutting off the well.

    Effectively shutting off the well? That's good right? Intellectually, I know that those words are a good thing, but for some reason, they're not making me feel happy. Maybe I've lost the capacity to see the positive side to this story, since, forever, there was no such thing as a positive sign to this story.

    Or maybe — like a battered wife (or battered husband — hey, this is the teens!) — I've come to rely on this gush of poisonous liquid. Maybe being in a near-constant state of low-level depression has become so internalized into my psyche these past few months that I need its soothing throb. Like, who am I if I'm not trying to not think about oil-soaked dolphins? How will I get by without the negativity?

    On the other hand, the tests could show pressures that are lower than expected, Mr. Wells said, an indication that the well is damaged. That could mean that oil and gas are leaking into the surrounding rock.

    In that case, keeping the cap closed could damage the well further. The valves would have to be reopened and oil would start escaping from the well again…

    Aaaaahhhh… So soothing.

    Tags: Animals, BP, Energy & Oil, Environment, Gulf Coast


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