We're tracking developments in testing of the new cap on the broken oil well. Plus, new details about how few claims BP has paid to people in Gulf and tonight's other headlines.
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The "integrity test" on the BP well in the Gulf will continue for another 24 hours, as company and government officials determine whether the new cap is holding up.
The testing began last Thursday and was originally expected to last 48 hours. It has now been more than four days.
A federal science team and BP officials are trying to determine what's causing lower than hoped for pressure readings. The pressure readings of 6,800 pounds per square inch are lower than the 7,500 pounds engineers expected when the test began.
Scientists are also investigating possible methane gas leaks found around the well and from the broken blowout preventer, as well as from a potentially unrelated seep from the ocean floor about two miles away, former Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters at today's afternoon news conference. But he says right now there's no reason to worry.
"It is the collective opinion of the folks that are talking about this that the small seepages we are finding right now do not present, at least at this point, any indication that there is a threat to the well bore," Allen said.
Officials believe the leaks could be occurring naturally.
Tonight on 360°, CNN's Chad Myers will explain how these natural leaks happen each day in the Gulf. He reports 40 million gallons of oil naturally seeps into the Gulf each year. 40 million gallons.
You'll also hear from Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, who has sent a letter to Adm. Allen on Sunday seeking more information on the well testing.
"By shutting in this well, we could be shutting off our last best chance to determine what BP could pay in government fines," said Rep. Markey.
With the well shut and no oil be collected on ships on the surface there can be no analysis of the flow rate.
Markey wants to know the flow rate because he says BP will face a fine from the federal government for every barrel of oil spilled per day, up to $4,300 per barrel in the case of gross negligence.
We'll also take you back to the night the disaster began. Three months ago tomorrow, the rig burst into flames. In a 360° exclusive, you'll hear from three of the first-responders. For these three men a fishing trip turned into a nightmare.
See you at 10 p.m. ET.
CNN Wire Staff
Tests on the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico will go on for another 24 hours as federal and company officials try to explain "anomalous" pressure readings and possible leaks, the federal government's point man on the spill said Monday.
"There is no indication at this time this is any indication of a significant problem in the well bore, but we are running every one of these anomalies down," former Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters Monday afternoon.
The pressures recorded on the well in the four days since it was temporarily "shut in" are lower than expected, Allen said. Meanwhile, there are possible leaks of methane gas from around the well and from the inoperative blowout preventer, as well as a separate and possibly unrelated seep from the ocean floor about 3 kilometers (about 2 miles) away, he said.
A high school student who disappeared on her way home from summer school last week was likely kidnapped, authorities in Southern California said.
Norma Lopez, 17, has not been seen or heard from since the morning of July 15. “We believe that she was possibly taken against her will,” Deputy Melissa Nieburger of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told CNN.
According to investigators, Lopez had just left class at Valley View High School and planned to meet her younger sister and a friend at home. It is believed Lopez, who will be a senior in the fall, took a short cut through a dirt field to reach the family’s residence.
Her sister contacted the police when Lopez never returned home.
Personal items belonging to Lopez that were found in the field suggest that she may have been abducted, Deputy Nieburger said. “These are items that you would not leave behind,” she added.
Extensive searches for the missing teen continued today, Nieburger said. “This is an active investigation. We have utilized all our resources,” she told CNN. “We’ve used canines, bloodhounds, numerous units and all our detectives are still working the case.”
Police are looking for a green “SUV type vehicle” that was seen driving away from the area at the time Lopez vanished.
Nieburger asked the public to help in locating Lopez. “Obviously, we just want her to be found safe,” she said.
Norma Lopez is approximately 5’7” and weighs 110lbs. She has brown eyes and brown shoulder length hair. She was last seen wearing a black and white horizontal stripe sleeveless shirt, with a floral pattern and black skinny jeans.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Moreno Valley Police at 951-247-8700 or the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at 951-776-1099.
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Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
George Clooney leaves Milan's law courts after testifying against three individuals accused of fraudulently using his name to promote a fashion label at Palazzo di Giustizia on July 16, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Program Note: See the full interview with the three fishermen, who were first on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, tonight on AC360° at 10 pm ET.
Last week we got an email from Shelly Milam from Milam and Milam law offices in Alabama. She said she had some video and photographs from clients who were out fishing in the Gulf of Mexico the night the Deepwater Horizon exploded.
I met with their attorneys and watched cell phone video the 3 men took that night. They were the first to respond to the scene as they were on a fishing trip and happened to be 17 miles away.
Scott Russell, Mark Mead and Brad Shivers agreed to give us their video and photographs and told us about the night that they say changed their lives forever. They describe a situation where they noticed a fireball in the distance and suddenly heard mayday calls coming in saying people were abandoning the rig.
They started heading to the Deepwater Horizon knowing that people were going to need help. They were there before the Coast Guard and felt intense heat coming from the fire on the rig. They saw people hanging off rafts asking them to go search for people who were missing. They handed them their medical kits and started searching the waters surrounding the rig looking for anyone in the water.
The three men met us and interviewed with Anderson about what they saw that night and the chaos they witnessed when they first arrived.
It's a night they say they'll never forget.
Efforts to minimize the damage from the huge oil spill from a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico are under way, but wildlife conservation groups say the oil could pose a disaster for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coastal areas.
How can you help? A number of organizations are recruiting volunteers.
CNN Wire Staff
Tea Party activist Mark Williams says he's done discussing the controversy stirred up by his attack on the NAACP, accusing a fellow movement leader of turning the debate into "a World Wrestling style personality conflict."
The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled Williams and his Tea Party Express organization because of the inflammatory blog post Williams wrote last week, federation spokesman David Webb said Sunday. In response, Williams announced in another statement on his blog that, "I am refusing all media requests on this" and canceled a scheduled interview on CNN to discuss the controversy Sunday evening, citing a last-minute change in travel plans.
"That careless individual tea partier who assumed the mantel of 'leadership' did so long enough to turn a critical and serious movement and delicate peace with skeptical groups into a World Wrestling style personality conflict with me at the center," Williams said. "There are internal political dramas amongst the various self-anointed tea party 'leaders,' and some of the minor players on the fringes see the Tea Party Express and Mark Williams as tickets to a booking on "Fact [sic] the Nation.' "