The first large scale impacts on shore are starting to be felt from the Gulf oil spill. Increasingly a narrative is emerging in which British Petroleum can mitigate, but ultimately not contain the massive amount of oil leaking into the Gulf. Some are calling for the federal government to step in and take over the entire operation, but thus far the Obama administration has given no signal of such a move. Here are the latest updates on the Gulf oil spill disaster. The latest pictures from the spill can be seen below.
– As can be seen in the slideshow below, the first heavy oil has begun coming ashore along the coast of Louisiana. Environmentalist are collecting samples and crews are being sent to do as much damage control as possible. Still, it is clear the booms will not work in keeping the oil spill from actually reaching the coasts. Governor Bobby Jindal said the oil is invading some of the most precious wetlands fo the region.
– The oil spill has also reached the Gulf current loop. The loop is a powerful current that could take the oil into the Florida Keys region and even up the East Coast in the coming weeks and months.
– BP has reported some more success in siphoning out some of the oil leaking from the ocean floor. According to BP officials, 3,000 barrels are now being siphoned each day. Still, some experts are saying as much as 70,000 barrels are leaking each day.
– BP has also said they are moving forward with a “top kill” solution which could theoretically plug all the leaks. The process involves injecting heavy liquid and debris into the blowout preventer to clog it up. The entire site would then be sealed off using concrete. BP may begin moving forward with this process as early as Sunday.
– Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his intention to split up the Minerals Management Service into three different departments to regulate offshore drilling. One agency would lease land to oil companies to drill, another would enforce safety and environmental regulations, and another agency would collect royalties. The agencies would operate independently. In the past, MMS has been criticized for a potential conflict of interest since the same agency that makes money off oil companies was in charge of regulating those companies.
– Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) has demanded BP allow the public to see a live stream of the oil leak 5,000 feet beneath the ocean floor. BP has been criticized for the secrecy behind the entire clean up effort. It took 23 days before any video of the leak was released to the public. BP has now agreed to Rep. Markey’s demand and will begin providing a live feed tonight.