Now that the Deepwater Horizon is being described as the largest spill in United States history, the sense of immediacy is back in the communities around the Gulf of Mexico. Out in the leak area, however, the immediacy has not faded, despite a sixteen hour break in the "top-kill" efforts to stop a leak now estimated at 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil daily.
B-P workers have resumed their efforts to stop the oil by pumping a heavy drilling mud down the oil pipe. As that mud goes down the pipe, it forces the oil back down as well. Ideally, the plan would stop the leak with mud, allowing the R-O-V submarine fleet working nearly a mile below the surface to put a permanent cap in place over the well.
The stoppage in the pumping effort was apparently to allow an adjustment in the amount of heavy materials forced down into the well. Shortly before the pumping was stopped, officials said the mixture was wrong- allowing the oil and drilling mud -now a diluted sandy mix, to come to the surface.
President Obama is headed to the Gulf today on an inspection visit. While there, he will get a first-hand view of the situation, and the thirty-three other deepwater rigs he has ordered stopped for at least the next six months while a Presidential task force works on its report surrounding the incident.