Oil Spill - How Big?
The Hiller Instinct: Oil Spill - How Big?
"The worst environmental disaster America has ever faced," said President Obama.
In the week after the spill, the government and BP estimated the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf was about 42,000 gallons a day, and made it sound manageable.
But just a week later, the estimate quintupled to more than 200,000 gallons a day.
"The amount of oil coming up seems to keep on increasing," said one of the experts, Dr. Ira Leifer from USCB/Marine Science Institute, trying to measure the spill after BP's attempt to slow it down when "Top Kill" backfired.
"If you clean the pipes in your house the plumbing flows mcuh better and that's what's happening. We have a much better plumbing flow of oil into the ocean," said Leifer.
After "Top Kill," a new estimate put the leak as high as 800,000 gallons a day, roughly twenty times the original estimate.
BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, admitted the obvious.
"We don't know whether we'll be able to overcome the well," Hayward said.
On June 1, BP tried again, sawing off the well pipe to cap it. But, once again, the result was an even bigger leak -- up to 1.7 million gallons a day.
Then, this week, another estimate and another huge increase to as high as two and a half million gallons a day, which means as much oil is leaking into the Gulf every five days as the Exxon Valdez spilled in Alaska in 1989.
And the Gulf could get worse.
"We all have estimates and some people have been disappointed when they were changed. So, show me the numbers," said Admiral Thad Allen, Oil Spill Incident Commander.
We've seen enough numbers and you bet we're disappointed. How much confidence should we have when our government can't stop the spill and doesn't even know how much oil is leaking?
I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.
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