What the hell are they trying to feed us now?
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Concerns escalated yesterday as the best short-term solution for the disastrous oil spill facing the U.S. Gulf coast stalled when engineers
desperately realized the initial fix -- employing a giant containment dome -- wasn't going to work when its funnel system clogged with crystallized
Fuelling fears of an extended environmental disaster, BP''s giant containment box lay unused on the seabed, a four-storey chamber and the company's
best short-term solution to containing the slick. After the setback on Saturday, engineers scrambled to find other solutions and are considering using
debris, including tire shards and golf balls, to plug the damaged blowout preventer on the well.
Using a technique called a "junk shot," where debris is pumped into the preventer at high pressure, is one option. Another is attaching a smaller,
"top-hat" preventer on top of the damaged one.
"They are actually going to take a bunch of debris -- some shredded up tires, golf balls
and things like that--and under very high pressure shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up to stop the leak," U.S. Coast
Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the U.S. government's response effort, told CBS's Face the Nation.
A BP executive was less conclusive, telling Reuters that crews haven't yet decided what recourse to take and are still examining options, some of
which may take weeks or months to implement.
"What we're working on now is we're gathering some data to help us with two things: One is another way to do containment, and the second is other
ways to actually stop the flow," said BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles. Using the junk shot would ideally plug up the preventer "the way you
might plug up a toilet," Mr. Suttles added.
Employing a junk shot could be risky, however, as experts have warned that excessive tinkering with the blowout preventer -- a 450-ton valve system
that should have shut off the oil -- could see crude oil shoot out unchecked at 12 times the current rate.
At least 5,000 barrels, approximately 210,000 gallons, of oil a day are gushing into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20,
killing 11 crew members and rupturing the well. BP is also drilling a relief well to halt the leak, but such a solution could take three months, BP
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