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US Government: Work Must Continue on Gulf Relief Well

The head of the U.S. government's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill says work must continue on the relief well that has been billed as the permanent solution to killing the ruptured well.

Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told reporters Friday that the relief well will be finished and the well that has spilled millions of barrels of oil into the water will be killed.

Pressure testing was done to see if the procedure that sealed the well from the top, the "static kill" unexpectedly plugged the well, meaning that the "bottom kill" operation to be done through the relief well would not be necessary. Allen said officials are still evaluating the best way forward.

Meanwhile, Alabama is suing BP, Transocean and Halliburton for what it described as "catastrophic harm" caused by the spill.

The state is seeking economic and punitive damages. No specific amount was listed.

BP was leasing the rig Deepwater Horizon oil rig from Transocean when it exploded and sank. Halliburton did cement work on the well before the rupture.

The static kill operation, completed by BP last week, involved pumping mud and cement into the well from the top. The bottom kill would involve pumping mud and cement in from the bottom.

An April 20 explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 people and ruptured the well, polluting the region's waters and much of the Gulf Coast shoreline. The oil leak was stopped with a temporary cap in mid-July.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.