'Angry' Salazar confident in BP's approach? 'No'

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May 23, 2010, 4:02 pm
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(NECN/CNN: Houston, Texas) - British Petroleum's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- now 33 days old -- has not secured the confidence of the U.S. Government.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday said he was "angry" and "frustrated" with BP's inability to prevent the spread of pollution and cap the well. After many failed attempts at putting a stop to the deep-sea oil leak and many missed deadlines, Salazar said government agencies are watching over BP's shoulder to make sure it is doing its best.

"Do I have confidence that they know exactly what they're doing? No, not completely," Salazar said.  "And that is why we have the department of energy and its laboratories, Secretary Chu and Dr. Marcia McNutt, NASA, and a number of other agencies that are here providing input and providing oversight to make sure that this problem does not worsen, and to make sure ultimately this pollution is contained and controlled and that this well is killed."

BP has been siphoning oil to a tanker on the Gulf surface since last weekend, but company officials said Sunday the tube has seen a nearly 33-percent drop in oil being captured by the tube.

"The federal scientists have been working to get an updated estimate of how much oil has actually been flowing and how fast it is spilling," Salazar said. "The administration-wide response efforts have always been geared toward the possibility of a catastrophic event and our deployment of resources and our tactics have been based on such a worst case scenario, not an inexact number."

Oil has already affected many forms of wildlife along the Gulf coast. The process of killing the well is expected to begin later in the week, but there is mounting frustration that it has taken over a month to even get to this point.

A so-called "top kill" -- injecting the leak with heavy mud to stop the flow of oil, then entombing it with cement -- has been tried on land but never 5,000 feet underwater, so scientists and engineers have spent the past week preparing and taking measurements to make sure it will stop the oil that has been spewing into the sea for a month. They originally hoped to try it as early as this weekend.
     
"It's taking time to get everything set up," BP spokesman Tom Mueller said. "They're taking their time. It's never been done before. We've got to make sure everything is right."

Video courtesy of CNN. Material from The Associated Press used in this report.

Tags: Louisiana, oil spill, Ken Salazar, BP, British Petroleum, Gulf oil spill
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