Fourchon Beach, La,
New cap could contain oil leak by Monday
The BP oil leak could be completely contained as early as Monday if a new, tighter cap can be fitted over the blown-out well, the government official in charge of the crisis said Friday. Crews using remote-controlled submarines plan to swap out the cap over the weekend, taking advantage of a window of good weather. "I use the word 'contained,' " said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. " 'Stop' is when we put the plug in down below." Two relief wells are being drilled deep below the seafloor to intercept the ruptured well and seal it permanently with mud and cement, a job that may not be completed until mid August. The new cap — dubbed "Top Hat Number 10" — is designed to fit more snugly and help BP catch all the oil. Once the old cap is removed, oil will pour into the gulf unhindered for about 48 hours while the new one is put in place, Allen said. BP also worked Friday to hook up another containment ship to a different part of the leaking well. The Helix Producer, capable of sucking up more than 1 million gallons a day when it's fully operating, should be working by Sunday, Allen said. The government estimates up to 2.5 million gallons of oil a day are spewing from the well, and the existing cap is collecting about 1 million gallons of that. With the new cap and the new containment vessel, the system can capture 2.5 million to 3.4 million gallons — essentially all the leaking oil, officials said.
IRS sets phone line to deal with BP
Taxpayers affected by the oil spill can call a special IRS phone number for questions about BP payments or if they have problems filing taxes. The Internal Revenue Service announced Friday that oil spill victims can call toll-free 1-866-562-5227 on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Last month, the IRS said payments for lost wages from BP's $20 billion victims compensation fund are taxable just like regular income.
KANSAS CITY, Mo.
NAACP says blacks mistreated
The NAACP has sent a letter to BP expressing concerns that minorities helping to clean up after the massive oil spill tend to be assigned tougher, lower-paying jobs than whites. NAACP president Ben Jealous says in the letter dated Friday that he wants to meet with BP's chief executive. The NAACP says minority contractors aren't receiving equal consideration for opportunities to participate in mitigation efforts. It says contractors are busing in workers instead of hiring locals who've lost their livelihoods because of the spill. It also says that cleanup workers aren't provided with protective clothing and masks.