May 4th, 2010
08:52 PM ET

Latest Updates: Gulf oil spill

Oil booms were installed to help hold back the oil from reaching shore.

[Updated at 9:13 p.m.] The State Department refused Tuesday to provide details of what countries had offered assistance with the oil spill off the Louisiana coast.State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said 12 countries and international organizations had offered assistance but would not provide details.

"One more time. Do we know who the 12 are? We do," Crowley said at his afternoon briefing. "Are we going to announce them publicly? We're not."

- From CNN's Charles Keyes

[Updated at 8:46 p.m.] A federal official in charge of monitoring the environmental impact of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico said Tuesday his agency is closely monitoring what he described as BP's "unique idea" to break up the spill with dispersant chemicals, deep underwater, reports CNN's Caleb Hellerman.

In addition to traditional methods of using dispersants on the surface, BP, has attempted to inject the chemicals near the source of the leak, where oil has been gushing out of the seabed and into the Gulf since at least April 22, when the Deepwater Horizon sank two days after an explosion and fire.

[Updated at 3:03 p.m.] The edges of the massive Gulf Coast oil slick grazed Louisiana's Chandeleur Islands as authorities took steps to protect waterways closer to New Orleans, the state's governor said Tuesday. Read the full story

The barrier islands are home to a national wildlife refuge, and the state Department of Environmental Quality reported the thin, rainbow-colored sheen at the fringe of the 60-mile-wide spill could be seen lapping ashore Tuesday morning, Gov. Bobby Jindal told reporters. The Coast Guard and BP - which owns the exploded well responsible for the spill - have approved plans to protect waterways and marshlands in the parishes closest to the slick, but those parishes still need supplies like additional floating booms to carry them out, he said.

"Let's make no mistake about what's at stake here. This is our very way of life," Jindal told reporters. "This is our fishing communities, these are some of our coastal communities. We're talking about keeping this oil out of our fragile wetlands."

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who was the state's lieutenant governor until Monday, said the parishes have developed "excruciatingly detailed" plans that they are asking BP to approve. And Kevin Davis, the president of St. Tammany Parish's government, said local authorities have plans to use multiple lines of floating booms to keep the oil from moving into Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain, which flank New Orleans to the east and north.

A plan is in place to protect Lake Pontchartrain, Davis said, but "That will certainly not be one we want to deploy. We're going to fight it on the outside." And the state is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to open spillways upstream in hopes of using fresh water "to help flush out the oil," Jindal said.

[Updated 1:26 p.m. ET] The Pentagon will pick up the tab for the mobilization of more than 17,000 National Guard troops called up by Gulf Coast states to battle the massive oil spill off Louisiana, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates granted requests from Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday night, said Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. Gates approved a similar request from Louisiana earlier, Lapan said.

[Updated at 1:08 p.m. ET] Democratic senators from two coastal states Tuesday called on President Obama to reverse his call for expanded offshore oil exploration after a massive spill from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico.

"I will make it short and to the point: The president's proposal for offshore drilling is dead on arrival," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told reporters.

Nelson and New Jersey Democrats Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg are also backing legislation that would raise the legal cap on damages oil companies must pay for oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion.

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. robertgvsr.

    I would like too know why BP cant follow protocol in the oil buisness, they new they did not have a blow out devise, installed on there rig under the ocean,and how is it it has been televised that every country uses these devises, for just exactly what has happen here to us by Bp. I say enough is enough, BP cut fianancial corners because the devise cost was 500,000.000 thousand dollars, now look at this damn mess, our children will feel this for years to come. i think we the people and the presedent of the united states needs to confinscate this oil rig for payment due to the families it has destroyed there jobs and some more of our economy.and make them clean every damn inch, and pay a billion dollar fine for damages, and not be allowed to drill again in the waters of the united staates of america. let us go crap in there water,and we will call it even. the hell with that pay up and be responcible for your cheap skate tactics,that have now cost you and us a million times what you could have prevented! pass a law that every oil company from this day must have this blow out devise no matter what it cost! the ceo is a ass , he said on tv on cnn they didnot have the devise, that should have been there in the first place. now he,s talking about pastense. get the hellout of our country! an x commercial fisherman! make em pay big Daddy God!

    May 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. david

    2012 here we come ;( thx BP

    May 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pippy Longstocking

    The South Will Rise Again.

    May 11, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. angle fish epa 201

    oil rigs deserve to be taken of the coast just go mess with the arabs some more hahahaha stop killing little turtles

    long live the south

    May 11, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Diana

    Has anyont thought about lowering a retractible dome to seal the hole? It could be inserted folded up and then it could be opened up once in position to seal the hole. They do it in stadium domes and the satellites in space, let's apply the same principle. The pressure from the well would keep it in place. Maybe it sounds simplistic but maybe it's an answer as well. SAVE OUR WILDLIFE!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Patricia

    I personally don't agree to that for the simple fact that, Look what happened? This is not good for our beautiful ocean waters and beaches. Nor is it good for our environment or as far as a food source and you cant forget the animals! I believe that if it happened this time, What makes people think that it won't happen again? I watched a video online that was showing hay being used to clean up the oil for the simple fact that hay will float! And from there you would have to sift it out of the water! I believe that it would save time and our tax dollars. But this is my opinion and 2 sence, on the matter.

    May 11, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Texas Seabiscuit

    Here's a thought – Every offshore rig could have a series of 'barrier rings of boom' that circle the entire rig operation. The boom would be installed permanently in place around the rig with enough additional boom stored on a seperate platform built primarily for safety, docking and housing. In an emergency spill event, the boom ring is the first line of defense. Additional onsite deployable boom buys rescuers and clean-up crews time to get to the site, and put in place siphoning tankers to contain and relocate the spilling oil.

    Imagine for one moment if BP had in place a 'containment barrier ring of boom' at the time of the explosion on Deep Horizon. We could have kept it contained and expedited our control over 'oil flow output' minimizing environmental disaster by capturing and diverting this precious resource.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lexi Korsok

    I refuse to buy BP Gas. This is rediculous. It seems as if no one cares about the marine life and only cares that it is a fishing community. This is a huge problem that needs to be fixed, not talked about. Would you enjoy breathing in oil instead of air?

    May 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joshua Behrens

    I am an electrical equipment engineer for the United States Marine Corp, and would gladly volunteer to help with the efforts in cleaning and fixing this mess . I have spent many of days covered in oil and fuel. Preventing it from entering the environment as specially the water has always been my top priority. To witness this disaster is an outrage. we need more people working on stopping/fixing this leak and its aftermath. ALOT Less "whats your political view on the situation" talk show BS. A few more million, could have prevented what will take years of environmental restoration efforts to fix. Where is everyone's head really at?MONEY!!! and if half of the income and economy is based on the waters in the region, you would think people should have cared a little more in the first place. I know our extremely dedicated and most proficient Engineers are working on it! Thanks, wish i could come help.
    Semper Fidelis! Cpl Behrens, J N

    May 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Grenville

    The statement about the valves being left open to prevent seawater from entering is ludicrous.
    This cap will always leak oil, as it requires a positive pressure to eliminate seawater entering the riser because of its limited ability to totally seal.
    I would like CNN to ask why the flange was not removed and a horizontal header installed with as many outlets required to capture all the oil. Are the ROV's incapable of preforming this task, or are BP's brightest minds stuck on how to preform such a task. Ask a pipe-fitter .

    June 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
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