Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

A storm brew­ing in the Caribbean brought the ef­fort to plug the rup­tured oil well to a near stand­still Wed­nes­day. Work on the re­lief well — now just days from com­ple­tion — was sus­pended. If con­di­tions get too stormy, the cap that has been keep­ing the oil bot­tled up since last week might have to be re­opened, al­low­ing crude to gush into the Gulf again for days. A fed­eral judge stopped com­pa­nies from de­vel­op­ing oil and gas wells on bil­lions of dol­lars in leases off Alaska’s north­west coast, say­ing the fed­eral govern­ment had failed to fol­low en­vi­ron­men­tal law be­fore it sold the drilling rights. A Washington Post anal­y­sis found that 3 out of ev­ery 4 lob­by­ists rep­re­sent­ing oil and gas com­pa­nies pre­vi­ously worked in the fed­eral govern­ment. That ex­ceeds the over­all av­er­age of fewer than in 3 reg­is­tered lob­by­ists in 2009 who had such govern­ment con­nec­tions, the Post said. Four ma­jor oil com­pa­nies — not in­clud­ing BP — agreed to pool $ bil­lion to form a new com­pany that would re­spond to off­shore oil spills.

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