It might be twice as bad as we think -- BP's disaster may have spewed twice as much petroleum into the Gulf as we were previously told or thought.
According to the Associated Press:
HOUSTON - New figures for the blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico show the amount of oil spewing may have been up to twice as much as previously thought, according to scientists consulting with the U.S. government.
That could mean 42 million gallons (160 million liters) to more than 100 million gallons (380 million liters) of oil have already fouled the Gulf's fragile waters, affecting people who live, work and play along the coast from Louisiana to Florida — and perhaps beyond.
It is the third — and perhaps not the last — time the U.S. government has had to increase its estimate of how much oil is gushing. Trying to clarify what has been a contentious and confusing issue, officials on Thursday gave a wide variety of estimates.
All the new spill estimates are worse than earlier ones — and far more costly for BP, which has seen its stock sink since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the spill. Most of Thursday's estimates had more oil flowing in an hour than what officials once said was spilling in an entire day.
"This is a nightmare that keeps getting worse every week," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "We're finding out more and more information about the extent of the damage. ... Clearly we can't trust BP's estimates of how much oil is coming out."
The spill was flowing at a daily rate that could possibly have been as high as 2.1 million gallons (8 million liters), twice the highest number the federal government had been saying, U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt, who is coordinating estimates, said Thursday. But she said possibly more credible numbers are a bit lower.
Story by Harry Weber, Seth Borenstein
Wake me please!