Jun 14, 2010 11:57 AM by Melissa Canone
A summary of events on Monday, June 14, Day 55 of the Gulf of
Mexico oil spill that began with the April 20 explosion and fire on
the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and
leased by BP PLC, which is in charge of cleanup and containment.
The blast killed 11 workers. Since then, oil has been pouring into
the Gulf from a blown-out undersea well.
Struggling to show leadership in a crisis, President Barack
Obama is embarking on a three-state tour of Gulf Coast states
tainted by oil before speaking to the nation about the country's
worst environmental disaster and what to expect in the weeks ahead.
Before the start Monday of a two-day trip to Mississippi, Alabama
and Florida, the White House announced Obama would order BP to
establish a major victims' compensation fund. When he returns to
Washington on Tuesday evening Obama will use his first Oval Office
speech as president to address the catastrophe.
BP said in a statement that its costs for responding to the
spill had risen to $1.6 billion, including new $25 million grants
to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. It also includes the first $60
million for a project to build barrier islands off the Louisiana
coast. The estimate does not include future costs for scores of
damage lawsuits already filed.
BP is currently capturing about 630,000 gallons of oil a day,
but hundreds thousands more are still escaping into the Gulf. The
company is also deploying undersea sensors into the ruptured well
in an effort to better track the amount of oil gushing into the
sea. BP has said that it could begin siphoning an additional
400,000 gallons a day starting Tuesday by burning it using a
specialized boom being installed on a rig.
The meandering sand dunes and bird islands of Barataria Bay, a
huge expanse of water and marsh on Louisiana's coast, have become
the center of the environmental disaster spewing from BP's offshore
well. And fishermen are bitter. The oil is threatening the complex
web of wetlands, marshes and bayous that make up this national
treasure. Everything from crabbing to bait fishing is shutting
down, and the anger on the bayou is palpable.
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