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Gulf oil spill: Leak is far greater than Exxon Valdez disaster [Updated]

The blown-out BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico had been gushing at a rate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, spewing at least 18 million to 28 million gallons of oil since the accident occurred, according to a revised flow rate released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

That would make the 36-day leak by far the worst in U.S. history, surpassing the Exxon Valdez disaster, which spilled 11 million gallons into Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.

USGS Director Dr. Marcia McNutt chaired the Flow Rate Technical Group charged with estimating the flow of oil into the gulf from the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

She said that on May 17, the team estimated 130,000 to 270,000 barrels of oil were on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, based on NASA imaging instruments. She said the analysis team estimated that an equal amount had had been burned, skimmed, dispersed or evaporated.

[Updated at 7:53 a.m. BP had first said 1,000 barrels were leaking, then estimated that 5,000 barrels a day were spewing into the gulf, after experts questioned the flow rate.]

-- Geoff Mohan

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BP Wants Houston Judge With Oil Ties To Hear Spill Cases Facing more than 100 lawsuits after its Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed 11 workers and threatened four coastal states, oil giant BP is asking the courts to place every pre-trial issue in the hands of a single federal judge in Houston, Texas.
That judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, has traveled the world giving lectures on ethics for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a professional association and research group that works with BP and other oil companies. The organization pays his travel expenses.

Hughes has also collected royalties from several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, from investments in mineral rights, his financial disclosure forms show.

Hughes, appointed to the bench in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, declined to comment for this report.

Legal experts say the request for a single judge, while not unprecedented, is unusual, and they surmise BP is seeking rulings from a judge well-versed in the company's issues.

They're still lowballing the spill. BP was siphoning 5,000 barrels/day using a 6-inch straw in a 20-inch pipe. A 20" pipe has an area that's 11 times greater than a 6" one--and there was another leak in the pipe that they didn't siphon. So the total amount of oil gushing out was more likely at least 50,000 barrels a day, probably more.

There are also huge plumes of undersea oil, thousands of cubic miles in size, that dwarf what's on the surface. The BP Oil Spill has more likely spilled 200-300 million gallons of oil, conservatively. The Gulf of Mexico will be destroyed for the next century. It ain't coming back, people, and no amount of "oil-eating bacteria" is going to gobble up all that yummy oil and make it all right, like our media overlords have been telling us. The entire ecosystem is going to die, and much of the coastal tourist areas as well.

Capt Hazelwood celebrates his name being taken off the top of the list

Please do not start calling this disaster the "Gulf Oil Spill". The words that the media chooses to use are very powerful. Just like the Exxon Valdez, the media should not let BP off the hook by not using their company name in describing this disaster. This disaster is the "BP Oil Spill" since BP caused it through their negligence. Leaving "BP" out of the title of the your story makes it seem that the problem just appeared and BP happens to be cleaning it up. Exxon has had to pay the public relations price for its disaster, I am not sure why the LA Times wants to let BP off the hook.

Big deal.

I can't even imagine the outcome if this happens in California. We need a major disaster audit for all of Cali's offshore wells pronto. God bless the people in the Gulf. Now peeps are getting sick from fumes, toxins, not to mention the amount of animals devastated by this. Wake up call to the World, oil needs to be banished from our coffers. Period. I didn't even realize the spill in the Galapagos way back destroyed 60% of the iguanas on one island.

T.Waltz: The spill, or leak, is worse than the Exxon-Valdez because both are measured by how much oil was dumped into the water, not by a snapshot of what was "on" the water one day, 10 days ago.

If you read carefully, an equal amount reportedly was skimmed, burned or had evaporated, according to USGS. That amount does not disappear from the historical record. If it did, then you would have to recalculate the Exxon Valdez measurements and subtract what was cleaned as well.

5.2M to 10.8M gallons on the surface. How is that far worse than Exxon Valdez's 11M gallons?

Confirmed: BP lies.

BP from day one has been more interested in not losing any of their precious oil. It's evident in their response. They quickly had TWO drilling platforms drilling relief wells. Their first attempts were in trying to siphon off as much of the oil as possible. Had they been more concerned about trying to STOP the flow of oil instead of trying to capture it, the mess would have been a lot less. But stopping it would drop profits... Insane how we let big corporations run our government. This is not a government of the people at all. America is a sham.

So much for the BP estimate of 5,000. And they had to be prodded to admit that. They should have been pushed by the administration to cap the well over a month ago. As soon as it began spilling out of control. Instead, BP was allowed to try to save the well and capture its output. All efforts failed and they finally had to cap due to public pressure. An absolute disaster where private greed was allowed to trump the public good and the administration allowed it to happen.

Reading about the magnitude of the spill and seeing the High Definition photos of the consequences, yet again of man's folly and greed, I could not help but think of the famous line from T.S. Eliot's , "The Hollow Men"

"This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper."

Indict. Prosecute. Incarcerate. Start with Perkins.

How about just stopping it


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