May 27th, 2010
11:45 AM ET

Gulf oil spill called worst in U.S. history

There's no end in sight for the situation in the Gulf of Mexico. Anderson Cooper reports live tonight from the region as BP attempts to stop the leak. Watch "AC360°" tonight at 10 ET on CNN for the latest on stopping the leak.

Venice, Louisiana (CNN) - The Gulf of Mexico undersea gusher has already spilled more oil than the Exxon Valdez disaster - possibly more than twice as much, making it the largest oil spill in U.S. history - government scientists said Thursday.

Scientists observed 130,000 to 270,000 barrels of oil on the water's surface on May 17, and think a similar amount had already been burned, skimmed, dispersed or evaporated.

That would mean 260,000 to 520,000 barrels had been leaked as of 10 days ago. The Exxon Valdez leaked about 250,000 barrels into Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.

The estimate came as an underwater tussle between oil and mud unfolded in BP's latest attempt to cap the runaway leak. But whether mud is able to defeat oil won't be known until later Thursday.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Gulf Oil Spill • T1
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. jd

    can somebody explain why the british aren't here helping out, en masse?

    May 28, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  2. David Lawless

    When will we see it raining oil? Or is that possible?

    May 28, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  3. Gordon

    It is time to bring more than the Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard and National Guard to the beaches, We need a national response to the disaster that employs every available person and provide them the proper safety equipment.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  4. Roger

    We need to investigate the politicians who voted down the acoustic safety valve and see how much campaign money they got from BP.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  5. Donald Firesmith

    BP is doing everything they can to stop the leak because it is in their financial interests to do so. However, they will try to do the least cleanup they can get away with because it is in their financial interests to do so. Let BP stop the leak but get EVERY oil company to work on the clean up passing the costs on to BP.
    Also, dispersion is stupid because it will make it impossible to clean up the dispersed oil and dispersed oil will kill the sea life all the way down to the ocean floor and not just at the surface. BP wants dispersion because they won't have to pay to clean up the dispersed oil.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  6. Joanne M. in Holiday, FL

    This mess is a global disaster, not just a local Gulf of Mexico/USA mess. I live on the central west coast of Florida. There is a faint smell and taste of oil in the water that has been there for at least a week. There is no way to truly tell how far reaching this spill already is. My heart aches for the Gulf of Mexico and our Earth. There should be NO DRILLING off any of our shores!!!!! The oil companies are only interested in profits, not the environment. It is painfully obvious that no oil company has any idea how to deal with this mess! How will they fix what has already happened? We, as a nation, should come together to stop all offshore drilling, it is just too dangerous. The risks to the environment are too great. There are alternatives to oil. We need to pursue other avenues of renewable resources of energy that won't destroy our planet!

    May 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  7. World Sea Life Foundation

    What about trying pluging it with an apparatus that works somewhat like a drywall anchor. Use the force of the pressure to push against the inside walls of the pipe blocking the flow.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Joe G. (Illinois)

    Is this not a czar moment? How come no czar from Borak Obama?

    May 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  9. steve antoine

    When Katrina struck and pres Bush was critisized for the slow help, conservatives struck back saying that governor Blanco should be first in line in responding, before the fed. governement. Why is it that instead of downtown N.O. it's the coast line now, nobody has said anything about gov Jindal's responsibility. I figured with 4000 oil rigs out in the Gulf there should be a little more preparedness already in place from the state, since sooner or later an oil emergency will take place there.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  10. Brian McClenagan

    I think we should scrape all of those bumper stickers that say "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," off cars, wad them up into a sticky ball and shove them into the leak. If that doesn't work, shove the cars from whence the stckers came into the leak. If that soesn't work...Well you can take it from there!

    May 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  11. Devin

    don't overlook the different weight of the many compounds in petroleum the videos are only showing the thick masses that are together yet.

    May 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  12. jeremy

    First off, I am NOT an engineer of any sorts, or scientist, or any other kind of learned authority on this subject. My suggestion to stop the oil leak in the gulf of mexico: Lower a very large, very very heavy Kason or cason over it, if possible and fill with special underwater hardening concrete if such a concrete exists) or connect pipes to the cason (large upside down square or other shaped box) in order to recapture the oil or control the flow. Vacuum the oil out of the spill area, separating the water from oil.

    May 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  13. JM44dog

    We are all repsonsible for this tragedy–for not demanding that true progress towards an alternative enegry source be a mandate for our country...we should be well on the way to using different kinds of power...no more tlak about embracing alternative, we've got to tighten ourt belts and really do it–while we look back on the beauty we've destroyed with our conspicuous consumerism. I'm ashamed of our resource waste.

    May 27, 2010 at 11:54 am |