It’s still too early to celebrate, or even breathe a sigh of relief. But the attempted “top kill” of the Gulf oil spill may be working.
“Engineers have stopped the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the federal government’s top oil spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said Thursday morning.
The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, has pumped enough drilling fluid to block all oil and gas from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well is very low, but persists, he said.
[For the record ... an earlier version of this story termed the effort "successful." Officials clarified that neither government nor BP officials had declared the effort a success yet. They caution that only after the cementing is complete and the well is sealed can the top kill be called successful.]
If the flow of oil is indeed halted, hallelujah. But all that means is that a very very bad situation will now stop getting even worse. An enormous amount of oil has been dumped into the Gulf over the last 37 days, and I fear we’re not even close to comprehending the scale of damage it will do.