Westward winds are pushing the oil away from Florida.

The relief well is proceeding “ahead of schedule,” but it’s not a sure thing.

Chances of the Florida legislature calling a special session are increasing, but chances it will be held in time to put a drilling ban on the November ballot are diminishing (more after the jump).

Bill McCollum challenged the man appointed to oversee BP’s $20 billion relief fund on his interpretation of Florida law.

Some scientists say they’re getting stonewalled in their efforts to study the gushing oil.

Oil companies, including BP, rank among the world’s top air polluters.

BP bureaucracy crushing inventors’ dreams
“Inventors, engineers and flat-out dreamers have now sent BP more than 112,000 ideas about how to stop or clean up the gulf oil spill,” The St. Petersburg Times reports.

Many would-be inventors believe they could cap the oil, if only they could drill through the bureaucracy of BP and the federal government to find someone gutsy enough to say, Yes, let’s try it!

“I think they’re young engineers down there and they don’t want to take the effort,” said Michael Engel, who owns a Tampa auto repair shop. He has submitted an idea with detailed sketches that involves covering the leaking well pipe with a locking sleeve and shutoff valve.

Some of these new inventors may have a chance to shine, given the doubts that have been raised about the advancing relief well.

“It’s not a solid dunk,” said Eric Smith, a deepwater drilling expert. “It’s going to take some work.”

Smith said two things could go wrong. The cut could miss the broken wellbore, and BP would just try again, or engineers could drill into hidden gas pockets.

“When you are drilling into that you have to be careful of a kick, a blowout in the relief well,” Smith said.

Obama renews push for moratorium
Yesterday, the administration appealed a decision blocking the ban.

In a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Justice Department officials said a six-month suspension of drilling in more than 500 feet of water is in the “long-term public interest of the nation,” and is needed to give the Interior Department time to develop and implement new regulations to prevent another spill.

Slow-coming special session
The legislature appears increasingly likely to call a special session to deal with the oil spill, but time is running out to place an amendment on the ballot to ban offshore drilling in Florida’s constitution.

Dates for a special session have not been set, but it appears likely it will start after Aug. 4. That is the last day a proposed constitutional amendment can be sent to the state elections office to make the Nov. 2 ballot.

Crist says he wants a session in July or August. He has the power to summon both houses into a session but has been reluctant to do so.

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