Oil rig explosion causes disaster in Gulf Of Mexico04/29/10 Robert Lorei
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Last week on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a $600 million exploratory oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, sank into the Gulf of Mexico following an unexplained explosion two days earlier that killed eleven workers. The fire that followed the explosion burned for 36 hours before the entire rig broke apart and sank, exposing a drilling opening in the Gulf floor that officials now say may be leaking approximately 5,000 barrels a day from three different leaks. The rig was set up 50 miles offshore from Louisiana and operated by TransOcean Ltd under contract to oil giant, B.P.
Crews have been unsuccessful in multiple attempts to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil that continue to gush from the blowout on the sea floor. In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard indicates that B.P. may be â€œ90 days out from securing the source permanentlyâ€ and this morning, B.P. said it would welcome help from the U.S. military in attempts to contain the disaster.
Currently, the spill covers an area slightly larger than the state of West Virginia (over 28,600 square miles) and can now be seen from space.
The oil slick is moving towards the barrier island communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida in the northern Gulf and is projected to hit land as early as tomorrow.
Weâ€™re joined now by Dr. Stephen Smith who is director of the Southern Alliance For Clean Energy- a group committed to sustainable energy â€¦ heâ€™s written about the growing disaster on his web site Cleanenergy.org and hereâ€™s his reaction to the spill.