Jane Van Ryan
Posted August 12, 2010
Work on the relief well resumed today after threatening weather in the Gulf led to a two-day drilling suspension. BP reports that the protective plug inserted into the well has been withdrawn and engineers are preparing to restart drilling.
The relief well's drill bit is nearing the point where it will intercept Macondo's wellbore. If all goes as planned, Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says the Macondo well will be permanently sealed early next week.
Killing the Macondo well is on schedule to far outpace the lifting of the drilling moratorium. News reports say it's unlikely that the court will rule in either of the two New Orleans-based lawsuits against the moratorium before the ban expires November 30.
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman struck down the administration's first moratorium, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." Then the administration issued a second moratorium containing more specifics on the rationale for imposing the ban.
Today the moratorium is facing a new challenge in Texas. Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, calling the deepwater drilling freeze "an unjustified, arbitrary and capricious policy that will inflict harm upon coastal communities." (AP) About 200,000 jobs are directly supported by the oil and natural gas industry in Texas, according to state figures.
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