Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Criminal Investigation Into Gulf Oil Spill

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, a Republican, called the delay in the plans' approval a "dog and pony show" and said that the barrier island construction should have started weeks ago.

"We are losing miles of our coastline as we speak," Nungesser told ABC's George Stephanopoulos this afternoon.

VIDEO: Residents prepare for Hurricane season to hit already-battered Gulf Coast.
Hurricanes Could Push Oil Inland Along Gulf Coast

Engineering experts have said constructing the barrier islands Jindal and Nungesser were talking about would take nine months or more.

BP Begins 'Cut and Cap' Strategy

Today, BP began its seventh attempt to control the oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico after its previous strategies have failed to stem the oil spill.

Underwater robots equipped with a diamond-studded saw began cutting into the drill pipe on the ocean floor this morning, part of a plan to gather oil with yet another containment dome, the third that's been tried, which would siphon the oil to the surface.

"We're not talking about capping the well anymore, we're talking about containing the well," said Adm. Thad Allen at an afternoon press conference, expressing optimism that this latest "cut and cap" strategy can collect at least some of the oil.

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The Coast Guard said it could take up to three days before the containment dome is operational. Until then, oil will spew into the Gulf unobstructed, at a rate that could fill an average-size swimming pool every hour or 15 bathtubs every second.

This third attempt with a containment dome comes after previous domes iced up in the freezing 5,000-feet-deep conditions, but this time, experts and government officials hope that a tighter-fitting dome will do a better job.

"My guess is this will be more successful by a large margin than the original insertion pipe," said Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute.

VIDEO:Adm. Mike Mullen discusses whether military intervention is a viable solution.

BP also believes it has learned from its mistakes.

"This is our third containment system we've deployed," BP COO Doug Suttles admitted today. "We've learned a lot from that, and we've applied all the learning from those two to this system, and that's why I'm pretty confident it will work."

Hurricane Could Derail Containment Dome

If it doesn't work, 20 percent more oil than is already gushing could flow into the Gulf. And even if the technique does work this time, it's still far from a perfect fix. A containment dome offers no hope of permanently plugging the well, and the technique is at the mercy of weather conditions in the Gulf.

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June 1 marks the first day of hurricane season, and at this afternoon's press conference Allen acknowledged that BP and the government would have to abandon the plan if a storm comes through, leaving the well spewing into the Gulf.

Forecasters predict this hurricane season to be the most intense since 2005, when Katrina ravaged the Louisiana coast and passed directly over the site where the oil leak began 43 days ago.

A permanent fix won't come until relief wells are completed, which BP and government officials said won't happen until August.

Not All Are Confident That 'Cut and Cap' Strategy Will Work

VIDEO: BPs latest tactic involves slicing off the broken pipeline and capping it.
Risky 7th Attempt to Stop Gulf Leak

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