The news that British Petroleum began its latest attempt to contain the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill Wednesday afternoon with the “top kill” stopgap strategy would be more heartening if it didn’t come so late in the game — and if there was more of a guarantee that it would do the job. –KA

The New York Times:

The Coast Guard gave BP approval on Wednesday morning to move forward with the maneuver after consulting with government scientists, as technicians completed preparatory diagnostic work. A live video feed of the leak was available online throughout the procedure, BP officials said.

Tony Hayward, chief executive office of BP said, it would be “a day or two before we can have certainty that it’s worked.” On the other hand, failure could become apparent within minutes or hours, a technician involved in the procedure said.

Either way, President Obama will return to Louisiana on Friday to survey the spill’s damage, the White House said.

The consequences for BP are profound: A successful capping of the leaking well could finally begin to mend the company’s brittle image after weeks of failed efforts, and perhaps limit the damage to wildlife and marine life from reaching catastrophic levels.

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