June 7, 2010
VENICE, La.---It may not look like it, but the government says a cap is now preventing 462,000 gallons of oil from leaking into the gulf each day. It's a significant step forward seven weeks into the disaster, but it's far from a success.
"I don't think we should ever be comfortable with the containment operation. We ought to be watching it very closely. We ought to be ruthless in our oversight of BP," said Admiral Thad Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The official oil flow numbers are now coming from the government, not BP. Federal authorities say the ruptured pipe has been leaking up to a million gallons into the gulf daily. Wind and currents are breaking the oil into the surface.
"it is no longer a single spill but a massive collection of smaller spills moving forward," said Allen.
In coastal Louisiana, visitors and tourists are scarce. As the oil spreads to Florida's beaches, they're worried the same thing will happen to them.
Clumps of tar can be seen as early signs of the spill along the beaches in Florida's panhandle and in Alabama.
"The further you come, the sadder it gets. I grew up in Pensacola on the beach, and it's so sad to see your white sands have all this on it," said Bambi Grods.
President Barack Obama is promising to hold BP accountable.
"There is going to be damage done to the Gulf Coast, and there is going to be economic damages that we've got to make sure BP is responsible for and compensates people for," said President Obama.
Experts say it will be years before the full economic and environmental impact can be known.