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News Link • Oil Spill - Gulf of Mexico

Worry that Gulf oil spreading into major current

• Yahoo News

NEW ORLEANS – BP said Monday it was siphoning some of the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, but worries escalated about the ooze reaching a major ocean current that could carry it through the Florida Keys and up the East Coast.

BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles said Monday on NBC's "Today" that a mile-long tube was funneling a little more than 42,000 gallons of crude a day from a blown-out well into a tanker ship.

That would be about a fifth of the 210,000 gallons the company and the U.S. Coast Guard have estimated are gushing out each day, though scientists who have studied video of the leak say it could be much bigger and even BP acknowledges there's no way to know for sure how much oil there is.

In the nearly a month since an oil rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers, BP has made several failed attempts to stop the leak, trying in vain to activate emergency valves and lowering a 100-ton container that got clogged with icy crystals.

Chemicals being sprayed underwater are helping to disperse the oil and keep it from washing ashore in great quantities. But millions of gallons are already in the Gulf, and researchers said that in recent days they have discovered miles-long underwater plumes of oil that could poison and suffocate sea life across the food chain, with damage that could endure for a decade or more.

Tar balls have been sporadically washing up on beaches in several states, including Mississippi, where at least 60 have been found.

 

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