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Gulf Oil Spill Seal Operation Delayed a Day

An operation designed to completely stop the major oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has been delayed a day so crews can clean up debris around a relief well.

Representatives of BP say an operation called "static kill" will take place Tuesday instead of Monday , to seal off one of the company's deep-sea wells, which ruptured over 100 days ago.

The procedure involves pumping heavy mud into the leaking well head to force escaping gas and oil back down. It will be sealed completely with cement at a later date. BP and government officials are optimistic the operation will work.

According to estimates, more than two million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since a BP-leased drilling rig exploded April 20, causing environmental damage and outrage among Gulf residents. The blast killed 11 workers.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would impose new safety regulations on the offshore oil-drilling industry. House members voted 209 to 193 in favor of the Democrat-backed legislation, siding largely along party lines.

The bill would remove a $75 million limit on liability for oil spill damages and put a new tax on the industry to fund nationwide conservation projects. The bill faces strong opposition in the Senate, which is not expected to take up the issue until September.

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