CNN Wire Staff
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Researchers have doubled estimates of how much oil has been spewing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, reporting Thursday that up to 40,000 barrels (1.7 million gallons) a day may have escaped for weeks.
Well owner BP has been able to capture a varying percentage of that oil, first with a siphon inserted into the well riser and since June 3 with a cap that allowed workers to draw nearly 16,000 barrels to a ship on the surface Wednesday.
But scientists from the Flow Rate Technical Group reported Thursday that the amount of oil that has been leaking into the Gulf since late April was roughly twice the amount they previously estimated.
"The lowest estimate that we're seeing, that the scientists think is credible, is probably about 20,000 barrels," U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt said. "And the highest that we're seeing is probably a little over 40,000, maybe a little more, depending on whether there are any systematic issues with gas."
Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
David Gewirtz | BIO
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute
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Well, that was certainly anti-climactic. My wife and I are busy these days, so when the census forms came earlier in the year, they simply went on "the list" and have remained there, buried under some random pile of papers on a desk somewhere in the house.
Unlike Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann, who worried that the census would be "very intricate" and "very personal", we had no political reason to ignore the forms. We just had lots of items on our to-do list.
As it is wont to do, time passed. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and we still didn't fill out the forms. So, yesterday, the doorbell rang.
It was...(cue ominous music)...the Census Taker.
Tom Foreman | BIO
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Reporter's Note: President Obama has summoned the big oil gang to the White House. I think he should probably have me there too, but I’ll stick with sending my daily letters until the invitation arrives.
Dear Mr. President,
Well, I am delighted to see that you took the advice of my letter yesterday and have now called the BP crew to the Oval Office for a good talking to! At least I hope that’s what you have in mind. It is certainly what they need at the least.
Let me tell you about an encounter I had on the beach of Grand Isle today. As you no doubt have noticed, one of the major issues with this oil company is nagging doubts about whether they are truly being upfront and transparent about what is going on, because they haven’t… uh… been upfront and transparent. And on the shore today I had a first hand look at precisely what runaway corporate hubris can create.
We were checking up on BP’s claim that it is not trying to muzzle anyone in exchange for jobs on the cleanup crews or payouts on claims against the company. So we found a crew on one of the beaches and struck up a conversation with a nice guy who was playing the role of security guard. And I truly think he was a nice guy, but it turned out that when BP hired him, or when they contracted with whatever company hired him, this guy was given some dreadfully erroneous information about the extent of his powers. To wit: He told us that he was there to make sure no one took any pictures of workers on the beach, and to make sure we did not ask them any questions. Our conversation went something like this:
CNN Wire Staff
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A delegation of U.S. senators head to the heart of coastal Louisiana on Friday to assess the damage caused by the growing BP oil disaster.
The visit comes as researchers have doubled estimates of how much oil has been spewing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, reporting Thursday that up to 40,000 barrels, or 1.7 million gallons, a day may have escaped for weeks.
The four lawmakers, Sens. Benjamin Cardin, David Vitter, Jeff Merkley and Barbara Mikulski, will be in Grand Isle, Louisiana, one of the early areas hit by the slick created by the underwater gusher.
Local politicians are expressing outrage over how the White House and oil giant are handling the disaster response.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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