President returns to gulf area as oil spill grows - - Jackson, MS

President returns to gulf area as oil spill grows

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GULF OF MEXICO (WLBT) - Using underwater robots, BP is working to move a new containment cap over the leaking riser that has been pushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 45 days.

The cap is sitting along the jagged edge of a pipe that engineers cut Thursday with a pair of giant shears, not the seam that were hoping for as they make another attempt to control the flow of oil.

"The amount of oil that might get through that seal is something we're just gonna have to determine as they put this thing over the riser pipe and get the best fit they can," said U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.

The crude that has already escaped has now stretched all the way to the Florida coast.

Thousands of tar balls and an oily sheen are floating in the waters about five miles from Pensacola Beach, and as the oil moves in, tourists are starting to move out.

"They just cancel and say they will just take their vacations somewhere else," said Paradise Inn employee Megan Nelson.

What should be one of the busiest times here has turned into a "paradise lost," business owners unable to ease customers growing concerns about the oil..

"They want to know if they'll be able to get on the beaches, and I don't know what to tell them," said Nelson

Friday, President Barack Obama returns to the region, looking for answers.  "You know, I am furious at this entire situation," said President Obama.

Thursday he talked about the spill on Larry King Live.  "This is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for potentially years," said the president.

The threat is growing as oil continues to pour into the gulf.  The flow could change dramatically in the next several hours, depending on the success of the new containment cap.

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