Forty-six days later, the oil spill is still spreading in the Gulf of
Mexico. Depending on whose estimate you trust, somewhere between
22 million and 200 million
gallons of oil are now in the water. How bad is this spill and what can
we expect from the clean-up and containment efforts currently underway?
Cap Is Diverting Some Oil The Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton reports:
"BP executives said that their efforts to capture the oil gushing into
the Gulf of Mexico have begun to work and that a containment cap placed
over the damaged well Thursday night sucked up about 441,000 gallons of
oil--on Saturday, up from around 250,000 gallons on Friday. That oil
was diverted to a waiting ship."
- Obama Administration Taking
Charge The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty and
Juliet Eilperin write: "For weeks, federal officials had stood
alongside BP executives at the briefings, reinforcing doubts about who
was really in charge and putting the government in the position of
vouching, by its mere presence, for BP's veracity. No longer. The White
House informed BP that it was putting an end to the joint appearances.
The administration is now scrambling to reclaim control, the appearance
and the reality of it, over a situation that defies both."
Americans Still Skeptical "Sixty-nine percent of Americans say the federal government's response
to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is not so good or poor," Politics Daily's Bruce Drake writes--"a higher percent
than the 62 percent who gave Washington negative remarks in 2005 for
its handling of the Katrina aftermath, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted June 3-6.
BP, which operating the rig the drilled the blown-out well, gets even
worse marks, with 81 percent panning its response."
Will Take Years, the New York Times' Joseph Berger explains. "Although the
Coast Guard had trained for the possibility of cleaning up a disastrous
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it had never anticipated that oil
would spread across such a broad area and break up into hundreds of
thousands of patches as the current spill has done ... it would take
years to mitigate the impact of the spill on the marshes, beaches and
wildlife on the Gulf Coast ... the big problem the Coast Guard is facing
is the intricacy of cleaning up oil that has broken into so many
patches across the surface of the sea and spreading out in so many
different directions. That will require many more vessels armed with
skimmers and more booms to block the oil from reaching the shore."
Could Last 'Decades' The Washington Post's Joel Achenbach and
David Brown bring the worst news by far. "The spill will have
ripple effects far into the future, scientists warn," but those effects
are largely unknown. For comparison: "The Exxon Valdez spill of 11
million gallons killed as many as 700,000 sea birds and 5,000 sea otters
initially, but even 21 years later, populations of sea otters in areas
of Prince William Sound haven't recovered. The Pacific herring
population collapsed after the spill for reasons that remain in dispute
among scientists. Two intensely studied pods of killer whales in the
sound suffered heavy losses in the spill and have struggled since. One
of the two pods has no more reproductive females. It is doomed to
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