The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from an offshore platform explosion on April 20, 2010 is worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The Gulf of Mexico faces 210,000 gallons of crude oil furiously pouring out of the Deepwater Horizon site which claimed the lives of 11 workers. The only other similarly devastating slick occurred on March 29, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez tanker dumped over 10.8 million gallons into Alaska's Prince William Sound Bligh Reef and became what was once considered the biggest ecological disaster.
The Gulf Of Mexico oil spill resulting from the BP leased and Transocean, LTD owned offshore platform located some 5,000 miles under the sea is perhaps the biggest oil catastrophe in history. The spill is expanding at a rate faster than experts predicted, already reaching the delta of the Mississippi River. The oil threatens migrating birds, river otter, mink, and sea life in Louisiana's wetlands into the Mississippi basin.
The Coast Guard has deployed staff to monitor the spreading oil spill and has determined that late Thursday April 29, 2010 the oil had reached the Mississippi River and Louisiana shore. The disaster is already five times larger than expected and predicted to worsen. The Gulf Coast is one of the world's largest sources of seafood, including shrimp, oysters, fish, and other sea life. David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported to the Associated Press that the spill is "of grave concern...I am very frightened. This is a very, very big thing. And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."
The Coast Guard has teamed with BP to protect the sea and wild life though nothing short of a miracle may stem the disaster. The Coast Guard has responded to the menacing threat of the oil spill with floating booms, skimmers, chemical dispersants and controlled fires to burn the oil off of the surface of the ocean. President Obama has sent members of his Cabinet to survey the damage and assist in handling the crisis though residents failed by federal assistance in the wake of the hurricane Katrina fear the worst. Emergency shrimping operations have begun to attempt to harvest any viable shrimp. Many fisherman have been deployed to set up booms to protect ecologically sensitive areas. BP has requested "help from anyone" and has asked the U.S. government for assistance in stopping the leak. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency to prepare for the environmental and financial impact of the spill with global ramifications to wildlife, food supplies, and the fishing industry. Jindal has also requested 6,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to the area.
Birds face burns after prolonged contact with oil as well as "clumping" of feathers which leaves birds without insulation, as well as the threat of swallowing oil while preening per spill recovery supervisor, Nils Warnock with the California Oiled Wildlife Care Network at the University of California. Other animals face anemia, hemorrhage, and even death resulting from contact with or swallowing oil, per the California based executive of the International Bird Research Center Jay Holcomb. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concentrated their efforts toward protecting national wildlife refuges on the chain of barrier islands, home to an estimated 34,000 birds.