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 CNN.com 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. Gregg NYC

    Drill Baby Drill – Why don't all of these morons chanting Palin's comments try educating themselves about how the Oil companies are writing their own safety manuals ,with very little oversite !

    May 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. concerned citizen

    The breadth and enormity of this disaster is difficult to fathom. I found this website useful (but horrifying) to help me visualize the oil coming out: http://www.thebigoilspill.com

    May 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    A depressing real-time look at the amount of oil being spilled. I hope they manage to stop the flow soon. http://www.thebigoilspill.com/

    May 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gulfmad

    Why isn't this disaster being treated as a total nightmare? If this goes uncapped for 3 months, it could mean the end of the world as we know it. This needs to be stopped NOW!

    May 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Margot

    Who cares how much it costs? Bottom line is that a way of life will be ruined and so much wildlife will be destroyed. It's truly sad and these things are priceless.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Where is the oil collection?

    I am very concerned about all the use of dispersants. Is it legal and ok to disperse all of this oil over the entire Gulf, Oceans – World? What are the COLLECTION EFFORTS?

    May 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. soneill

    Are all (All!!!!!) other rigs being inspected?

    May 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. leo

    bp has ahistory of violations , if i remember correct they have an accident in texas city ,tx and some employees lost there lifes . i think bp is taking for granted the rules and safty issues ,therefor washington needs to stop them from operating in us tell they get there sh.................. together.

    May 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. oilfieldworker

    Why is everyone pointing the fingers at BP? BP only owned the well being drilled, not the drilling rig itself. The owner of the drilling rig is Transocean which operates by their own policies and procedures, not BP's. A device on the Transocean rig failed...how is BP responsible for that? I think it is amazing that BP is footing the bill for the cleanup when they are not the ones who were operating at the time of the accident. To me that says a lot about the company.

    Look at the facts before you make assumtions and point fingers. Offshore drilling is crucial for american independence...we need to quit relying on forign oil! This incident is unfortunate...but also very, very uncommon! Oil companies have drilled several offshore wells with success. Once the investigation is complete we will all know what casued this horrible accident so that mechanisms can be improved and operations can continue.

    May 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lisa lovell

    not until humans and all of their garbge are gone from this planet will the earth and all of its non human inhabitants have a chance to begin to heal from all of the destruction we lovely humans have wreaked upon this earth!!! when will the destruction of this beautiful planet end???? so that the planet and the animals can live in peace! why are oil rigs in the ocean anyway??? what about all the thousands of other offshore oil rigs that have underwater leaks that we dont even hear or know about?? dead and dying sea turtles, lets face it folks, this oil disaster is a DISGRACE to all of us!!

    May 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DSo

    CNN needs to get its facts straight in this posting. The well did NOT explode as reported. The drilling rig exploded and burned. The well is leaking oil. The drilling rig was not owned by BP; it is owned by Transocean, Ltd. The well is owned by BP. Got it? Accurate reporting is not a convenience. It is essential. Nit picking this is not. It is simply a request for factual reporting. BP has owned up to its responsibility; Transocean has not said a word. That in itself is telling. Further, this incident is an example of what could happen on any of the hundreds of other oil drilling rigs or production platforms sitting out in the Gulf. This is an environmental and energy catastrophe. No amount of oil justifies it. None. In 27 days it will be hurricane season. What will happen if a storm enters the Gulf. There will be no clean up efforts or well-capping efforts then. They have 27 days, and the clock is ticking.

    May 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lawyerguard

    I feel sorry for the shrimpers.. They'll never make it.. This lets the cheap chinese shrimp into otherwise "fancy" seafood restaurants around the gulf.. Nothing against chinese speaking shrimp of course..

    May 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cutter Gonzalez

    The National Guard is not taking away from industry, rather protecting the environment we all live in. Hopefully, this mess can be cleaned up fairly quickly. I support any effort to try and retain the damaging oil from the coastline.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. michael gruters

    my twitter – no response

    @BarackObama large flotation of tankers/barges pumping oil from surfaces no need for this cap/pipe – explode deep in shaft to seal – call me 917 885 4471

    MIchael Gruters

    former faculty physics Princeton

    May 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JR

    Once the leak is finally prevented, hopefully, there ares still those millions of gallons coming to shore one way or another. It will cost more and create more environmental damage unless it is prevented. One alternative is to sink the oil to the bottom of the ocean. The depth of the ocean at that location is about a mile. The environmental damage at the bottom is orders of magnitudes less than near shore. BP, EPA, NOAA and others have to consider this approach now before it gets too late to do anything about it when the hurricane season starts. See this short video to understand the concept:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFxM-JFrWCE

    There are other methods out there that might work as well. A combined effort and new ideas are needed. The government and BP have to start thinking out of the box solutions now than later.

    May 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
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