The oil rig that exploded into America's consciousness on April 20 is still spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico at an alarming rate. The initial explosion took a devastating human toll and the rig sunk two days later, but there was little indication as to how large the actual spill would grow. Located 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, initial estimates put the leak at about 1,000 barrels a day. As of yesterday, however, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that oil was leaking at a rate of approximately 5,000 barrels a day, 5 times more than previously expected. Some estimates obtained from NASA images predict spill rate much higher still.
As of earlier this week, the slick was already covering over 2,200 square miles, and spreading rapidly. Yesterday evening, emergency clean-up crews began experimentally burning the oil to keep it from reaching shore. Initial burning attempts were deemed successful but so far no one has been able to control the leak. As of last night, the western edge of the slick was estimated to be within 10 miles of shore.
This is a tragic refutation to all the industry's claims that offshore drilling is safe and that spills don't happen. Tell this administration that our country cannot be put at risk merely to fill the pockets of Big Oil. Tell them no more drilling off our coasts!