Oil watch continues in the Gulf of Mexico as many factors remain unknown about the extent of damage the leak will cause. Executives from BP tell members of a congressional committee that in the worst-case scenario a leaking well could spew up to 60,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf.
But, when you take 60,000 barrels of oil and break that number down, that’s an estimated 2.5-million gallons of oil polluting the gulf. And with threats of inclement weather in the horizon, many along the Florida panhandle are preparing for the worst
Oil continues to gush from three different leaks, and continues to threaten the coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and right here in Florida.
Crews are hoping to get back to work Wednesday morning for more skimming, barrier placement and maybe even more burn off. Although some progress has been made, it's is still not nearly enough to stop the flow. NOAA reports that a remotely operated vehicle was able to cap one of the leaks, but as the Deepwater Horizon Response reports, to date, there are between 200-210,000 gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf a day.
After days of waiting, many are waiting to see the first signs of the oil slick to wash ashore.
Doug Suttles, Chief Operating Officer, BP Exploration and Production said Tuesday, “We had the first report of oil coming toward shore Tuesday morning at Chandeleur Island in Louisiana. To give you a sense of our ability to respond, we launched 22 vessels. 12 of those were shrimp boats, and ten of those were response vessels.”
Captain Marcus Young of the Alabama National Guard, said, "The oil is expected here in about three days,” said Captain Marcus Young, AL National Guard. “We have mile and a half, mile and three-quarters and another one and half mile more to go."
The threats posed on area wildlife are critical and the effects on the region are devastating; Members of the energy and environment subcommittee met with BP officials Tuesday and one chairman was not holding back.
“We asked a lot of questions, we did not get all of the answers that the American people but especially the people down in the Gulf region really deserve,” said Congressman Ed Markey, Massachusetts (D). “BP is now known as British Petroleum, if this leak is not shut off soon it will become known as Bayou Polluter."
The pollution is clouding the future of so many who make their living right here on the Gulf. "I’ve got a family; I've got bills to pay like everybody else," said one panhandle resident.
Woody Davis, a local fisherman tells NewsChannel 7, "We've all got to do our part and try to do the best we can to get it cleaned up."
In an exploration plan filed with the government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a "worst-case scenario" it described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout.
More than 100 operators are manning the Deepwater Horizon Response phone lines to answer questions. If you have questions about claims, how to apply for clean-up jobs, volunteering for the clean-up effort, OSHA and EPA Hazmat training, reporting oil sightings or animals in distress, you can call the hotline at: 1- 866-448-5816.