The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is shaping up, experts say, to become the worst environmental disaster in US history.
Crude oil’s pouring out of an underground well at a rate of up to 5,000 barrels a day.
It’s soiling the Louisiana coastline, and threatens those of Alabama and Florida.
All three states have declared a state of emergency.
“BP is ultimately responsible under the law for paying the costs of reponse and clean-up operations, but we are fully prepared to meet our rsponsibilities to any and all affected communities,” President Obama said.
“I have ordered Secretary (of the Interior) Salazar to conduct a thorough review of this incident and report back to me in 30 days on what, if any, additional precautions and technologies should be required to prevent accidents like this from happening again.”
As the coast guard patrols for damage, BP is attempting a variety of quick fixes. But experts say there’s little hope they’ll plug the leak.
As for longer-term solutions under consideration, they’re experimental and could take months to effect.
“We are in what we call a lose-lose situation,” environmentalist Jacqueline Savitz, the Senior Director of Oceana Pollution Campaigns said. “None of the options they’re looking at are great. There really is no way to handle this type of spill, which is why we shouldn’t have been drilling there in the first place.We’re going to be looking at the biggest oil spill in US waters in history.”
And with high water forecast over the next few days, there’s little hope of a reprieve from the inexorable advance of the polluted water.