As each day passes, more oil from the leak in the Gulf of Mexico is washing up on Louisiana beaches.
Fears are growing that this environmental disaster will turn out to be the biggest the United States has ever had to face.
Wildlife groups accuse BP, the owner of the rig which exploded last month, of holding back information on the real size and impact of the slick.
Huge amounts of crude continue to spew from the ocean floor despite several attempts to cap the well.
Back in Washington, law makers are growing frustrated with the lack of progress on containing the mess.
“We have seen tar balls actually in Texas, so, what we are doing is fighting an omni-directional and almost indeterminate threat,“said US Coast Guard Thad Allem.
Forecasters say some of the oil slick has entered the powerful Loop current which curls round the Florida Peninsula and could take it to Miami and Cuba within days.
Florida’s pristine coast is braced for the impact. In a sign of the widening environmental threat, the US has nearly doubled a no-fishing zone to 19 per cent of the Gulf ‘s states-side waters.
BP is clutching to the news that at least it is now siphoning off 3,000 barrels of oil per day from the well. But it is a drop in an increasingly polluted ocean.