Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Oil Gushing Into Gulf Of Mexico Due To Problems With Cap

Click to read full story from Fox News

Tens of thousands of gallons more oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday after an undersea robot bumped a venting system, forcing BP to remove the cap that had been containing some of the crude.

The setback, yet another in the nine-week effort to stop the gusher, came as thick pools of oil washed up on Pensacola Beach in Florida and the Obama administration tried to figure out how to resurrect a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.

When the robot bumped the system just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, gas rose through the vent that carries warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said.

Crews were checking to see if crystals had formed before putting it back on. BP spokesman Bill Salvin could not say how long that might take.

"We're doing it as quickly as possible," he said.

Before the problem with the containment cap, it had collected about 700,000 gallons of oil in 24 hours and sucked it up to a ship on the surface. That's oil that's now pouring into the Gulf.

Another 438,000 gallons was burned on the surface by a different system that was not affected by the issue with the cap.

A similar problem doomed the effort to put a bigger containment device over the blown-out well in May. BP had to abandon the four-story box after the crystals called hydrates clogged it, threatening to make it float away.

The smaller cap, which had worked fine until now, had been in place since early June. To get it there, though, crews had to slice away a section of the leaking pipe, meaning the flow of oil could be stronger now than before.

The current worst-case estimate of what's spewing into the Gulf is about 2.5 million gallons a day. Anywhere from 67 million to 127 million gallons have spilled since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and blew out the well 5,000 feet underwater. BP PLC was leasing the rig from owner Transocean Ltd.

General McChrystal Resigns Over Comments About President Obama

Click to read full story from Fox News

President Obama announced Wednesday that he has accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan following a scathing article in which McChrystal and his aides were quoted criticizing the administration for its handling of the war.

In doing so, Obama nominated Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command and the former commanding general in Iraq, to replace him. The president stressed that while the decision was a difficult one, it does not represent a change in the course of the war.

"This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy," Obama said in the Rose Garden, Petraeus by his side and McChrystal nowhere to be seen.

The president praised McChrystal, saying he always showed "great courtesy" and carried out his orders "faithfully," and that they were on the same page in terms of war strategy. He said the decision to accept the general's resignation was not based on "personal insult," but a desire to ensure there is no "diversion" to the mission. Obama said the conduct described in the article "does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general," which led him to his decision.

"I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military and for our country," Obama said. "War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or a president."

Obama said the commentary in the article "undermines" civilian control over the military chain of command. "It erodes the trust that is necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan," he said, adding: "Now is the time for all of us to come together."

McChrystal got his marching orders in Washington, where he met face-to-face with the president after meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon.

The Wednesday meeting preceded a regular session of the administration's strategy team for Afghanistan, held in the White House Situation Room. Normally, McChrystal would have joined via teleconference, but he was summoned to Washington as he faced a private flogging over the article that appeared in Rolling Stone.