Nightly News | September 17, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Almost five months after it blew out and started fouling the Gulf of Mexico , that BP oil well is about to be sealed off permanently, officially, finally from the bottom. Our own chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson has been down there covering this story from the start. She's with us once again from Venice , Louisiana . Anne , with all that region has come to mean to all of us, all they've been through and all that oil, it's hard to believe the moment has apparently arrived.
ANNE THOMPSON reporting: And it really is here. This final act, Brian , of this Maconda well is rapidly coming to a close. This afternoon, BP began pumping cement into the bottom of the well . Once that is done, it will conduct pressure tests, and it says the well could be declared dead as early as tomorrow. Now, you would think that would be a reason to rejoice here in the gulf. But here in Venice , I walked around the marina today and talked to a lot of people, and I was struck by the worry and uncertainty that remains. BP 's Vessels of Opportunity program is coming to a close, and that means for a lot of shrimpers and charter boat captains who had jobs during the cleanup, they're once again out of work. And there's no place to go. The offshore fishing here, deep water fishing, is still closed, and that means charter boat captains have nothing to do. Shrimpers tell me the price of shrimp has plummeted with demand. In fact, the price for certain types of shrimp is off by 66 percent. As one shrimp boat captain said to me, ' What do we do to get our reputation back? How do we get America to want to buy Louisiana shrimp again?' It's a problem they didn't create, Brian , but they're going to live with for a long time to come.
WILLIAMS: We'll keep following their story. Anne Thompson , Venice , Louisiana . Anne ,