Cutting Pipe Seen As `Significant Step Forward' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cutting Pipe Seen As `Significant Step Forward'

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - The government's point man for the Gulf oil spill says it's "a significant step forward." BP has used giant shears to cut off part of a leaking oil pipe so a cap can be placed over the gusher.

The shears succeeded where a saw failed yesterday. But Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says they made a more jagged cut, so placing a cap over it will now be more challenging. Allen says the irregular cut means the cap won't be as snug as officials would
like.

Allen says the cap will be lowered and sealed over the next couple of hours. It won't be known how much oil BP can siphon to a tanker on the surface until after the cap is fitted. Allen says it will be "a test and adapt phase as we move ahead."

Even if it works, BP engineers expect oil to continue leaking into the ocean. President Barack Obama plans to return to the Louisiana coast tomorrow to assess the latest efforts to deal with the spill.

Meanwhile, Florida is bracing for oil to start washing ashore by tomorrow in the Pensacola area, a major tourist destination and haven for wildlife.

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