Cleaning The Gulf
Officials meet to discuss next step in oil clean up efforts.
Crews continue to inch closer towards a final shutdown of the Macondo oil well at the Deepwater Horizon disaster site.
"We continue to make good progress towards both the static kill and the bottom relief well. We look to be laying in the casing line into the relief well later this evening and cementing that. That will set the stage for us to move on with the static kill," National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen told reporters Thursday.
During the "static kill" thick drilling mud will be pumped through the temporary cap and failed blowout preventer.
If the well is structurally sound the mud will force the oil back into the natural petroleum reservoir under the sea bed and cement will be pumped in to close off the well.
The static kill could be finished sometime next week.
Then teams will move forward with the "bottom kill", using the relief well to add more mud and cement.
That process could take days or weeks depending on the success of the static kill.
As work to stop the flow continues there is growing concern over the oil already in the water.
Streamers of oil and sheen continue to stretch out across the gulf,
But not nearly as much as before a temporary cap was put in place over the leaking riser.
Still, scientists warn that doesn't mean it's not there.
"You should continue to worry about the oil that may be in the swamps, and the oil that's in the water, but below the surface," warns Tulane University's Dr. Eric Smith.
That oil, weighed down by almost 2-million gallons of chemical dispersants, continues to threaten the marine life along the Gulf Coast.
The Coast Guard has already committed to being a part of the clean-up and recovery effort, through at least the end of the year.