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Video: Alex packs one-two punch for oil spill

  1. Transcript of: Alex packs one-two punch for oil spill

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: thing this oil clean-up operation needs is any kind of delay or disruption, but it's happening nonetheless. Our chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson remains in Venice , Louisiana , tonight. Anne , good evening.

    ANNE THOMPSON reporting: Good evening, Brian . We are once again on a boat in Venice harbor, and, as one official puts it, Alex is holding the cleanup process hostage. The seas are not expected to return to normal for a week. And those counterclockwise winds, they could drive the oil even deeper into Louisiana 's precious marshes. At times today the rain came in torrents, forcing many boats to tie up for a second day, the outer reaches of Alex stopping the cleanup efforts in coastal Louisiana and creating more potential problems.

    Admiral THAD ALLEN (National Incident Commander): We fully expect that if there's a two or three storm surge we could see oil moving in further inland or in the marshes where we hadn't experienced that before. We have skimming task forces standing by to be ready to be deployed as soon as the weather abates.

    THOMPSON: Today, news from the government that initial tests on dispersants show they are less toxic than oil, including the controversial Corexit 9500. BP sprayed more than a million gallons of Corexit in the gulf to break up the crude. Officials add there's no indication dispersant has settled on the ocean floor. Meanwhile, the research ship Nancy Foster is off to measure the impact of the oil on the all-important loop current .

    Mr. JOHN LAMKIN (National Marine Fisheries Service): The oil spill has the potential to affect a lot the ecology all across the Gulf of Mexico and maybe even into the Atlantic . And so the loop current as the main conveyor of water into the Gulf of Mexico and then back through the Florida straits is of immense importance to a wide variety of species.

    THOMPSON: Out at the spill site, work continues on the relief wells to plug the leak. Officials say the first well is now within 750 feet of its goal. One group of energy analysts says its experts indicate the well could be plugged in two weeks. To some, that is an overly optimistic prediction.

    Mr. DAVE RENSINK (American Association of Petroleum Geologists President): This operation has the highest probability of success of anything they've tried so far, and I truly believe this will be the solution. It's not going to be an overnight solution, but it -- this will be a solution.

    Offscreen Voice: Stand by.

    THOMPSON: Even though that first relief well is close, BP says the target date is still August. As for the forecast for tomorrow, it looks like there isn't going to be any more work done then either because the weathermen are predicting a 100 percent chance of heavy thunderstorms. Brian :

    WILLIAMS: Wow . Anne Thompson in Venice , Louisiana , there in the harbor.

Photos: Month 4

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  1. The Blue Dolphin, left, and the HOS Centerline, the ships supplying the mud for the static kill operation on the Helix Q4000, are seen delivering mud through hoses at the site of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana, on Aug. 3, 2010. In the background is the Development Driller III, which is drilling the primary relief well. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Eddie Forsythe and Don Rorabough dump a box of blue crabs onto a sorting table at B.K. Seafood in Yscloskey, La., on Aug. 3, 2010. The crabs were caught by fisherman Garet Mones. Commercial and recreational fishing has resumed, with some restrictions in areas that were closed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Chuck Cook / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sea turtle hatchlings that emerged from eggs gathered on the northern Gulf Coast of Florida are released at Playalinda Beach on the Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville, Fla., on Aug. 2, 2010. The sea turtles were born at a Kennedy Space Center incubation site, where thousands of eggs collected from Florida and Alabama beaches along the Gulf of Mexico have been sent. (Craig Rubadoux / Florida Today via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A crab, covered with oil, walks along an oil absorbent boom near roso-cane reeds at the South Pass of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana on Aug. 1, 2010. BP is testing the well to see if it can withstand a "static kill" which would close the well permanently. (Pool / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A boat motors through a sunset oil sheen off East Grand Terre Island, where the Gulf of Mexico meets Barataria Bay on the La. coast, on the evening of July 31. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Oil approaches a line of barges and boom positioned to protect East Grand Terre Island, partially seen at top right, on July 31. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is seen near an unprotected island in the Gulf of Mexico near Timbalier Bay, off the coast of Louisiana on Wednesday, July 28. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Greenpeace activists stand outside a BP gas station in London, England, on July 27 after they put up a fence to cut off access. Several dozen BP stations in London were temporarily shut down to protest the Gulf spill. (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. James Wilson sells T-shirts to those arriving in Grand Isle, La., for the music festival Island Aid 2010 on July 24. (Dave Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Activists covered in food coloring made to look like oil protest BP's Gulf oil spill in Mexico City on July 22. The sign at far left reads in Spanish "Petroleum kills animals." (Alexandre Meneghini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. People in Lafayette, La., wear "Keep Drilling" tee shirts at the "Rally for Economic Survival" opposing the federal ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, July 21. Supporters at the rally want President Obama to lift the moratorium immediately to protect Louisiana's jobs and economy. (Ann Heisenfelt / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A flock of white ibis lift off from marsh grass on Dry Bread Island in St. Bernard Parish, La., July 21. Crews found about 130 dead birds and 15 live birds affected by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on July 19 in the eastern part of the parish behind the Chandeleur Islands. (Patrick Semansky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP Oil Spill Victim Compensation Fund testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on July 21 in Washington, D.C. The hearing was to examine the claim process for victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An American white pelican has its wings checked during a physical examination at Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Hospital by Michael Adkesson and Michael O’Neill on July 21. The bird, along with four other pelicans, was rescued from the Gulf Coast oil spill and will be placed on permanent exhibit at the zoo. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Native people of the Gwich'in Nation form a human banner on the banks of the Porcupine River near Ft. Yukon, Alaska July 21, in regard to the BP oil spill with a message to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil development. The images include a Porcupine caribou antler and a threatened Yukon River Salmon. (Camila Roy / Spectral Q via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Gerald Herbert / AP
    Above: Slideshow (15) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 4
  2. Image: Economic And Environmental Impact Of Gulf Oil Spill Deepens
    Mario Tama / Getty Images
    Slideshow (64) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 3
  3. Image: Oil Spill In The Gulf
    Digitalglobe / Getty Images Contributor
    Slideshow (81) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 2
  4. Image: Dispersed oil caught in the wake of a transport boat floats on the Gulf of Mexico
    Hans Deryk / Reuters
    Slideshow (53) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Month 1
  5. Image:
    Gerald Herbert / AP
    Slideshow (10) Oil spill disaster in the Gulf - Rig explosion

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