BP says containing one fifth of spill; political pressure mounts | world | Hindustan Times
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BP says containing one fifth of spill; political pressure mounts

US President Barack Obama is launching a commission to probe the huge Gulf oil spill amid a growing political firestorm as BP said a tube inserted into the gushing leak was siphoning 20 per cent of the flow.

world Updated: May 18, 2010 09:50 IST

US President Barack Obama is launching a commission to probe the huge Gulf oil spill amid a growing political firestorm as BP said on Monday a tube inserted into the gushing leak was siphoning 20 per cent of the flow.

The independent commission will be established by executive order in the coming days, an administration official said, and will supplement existing government inquiries into what has emerged as one of the worst US environmental debacles in decades.

The move came as the disaster appeared to claim its first casualty in Washington, with the announced retirement of Chris Oynes who was overseeing offshore energy for the Minerals Management Service, which has come in for scathing recent criticism for being lax on safety standards enforcement for offshore drilling.

And with experts saying the oil could be drawn into a powerful sea current in the coming days, fears have soared that parts of the toxic slick could now shift inexorably towards Florida, where it could wreak havoc on the fragile coral reefs and nature preserves of the famed Florida Keys.

The political fallout that the administration was moving to contain mounted ahead of an expected Tuesday grilling for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar before US senators.