BP Oil Spill More Like 12,000-19,000 Barrels Per Day

First BP told us 1,000, then 5,000, and now a joint federal and independent research task force estimates that 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil were spewing into the Gulf since the crisis began, NYT reports. If the numbers are right, then we’re talking about as much as 30 million gallons. That would be more than 3x the amount from the Valdez disaster.

President Obama is set to visit the Gulf today, where the “top kill” technique has is having success with stemming the flow of oil and was augmented last night by the “junk shot” procedure which involves shooting solid objects like golf balls and shredded tires into the well to plug it up. “The real question is can we sustain it,” said Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The President will likely be met by a BP-crafted “Potemkin Village” of cleanup, pundit James Carville told Larry King. “B.P. knows he’s coming.”

Meanwhile, news photographers are complaining that BP has erected a “photo blockade” around the most ravaged areas, alleging that local and federal officials are working with BP to “explicitly target” members of the news media and prevent them from documenting oil-drenched areas:

One of those instances occurred early last week, when Herbert accompanied local officials from Plaquemines Parish in a police boat on a trip to Breton Island, a national wildlife refuge off the barrier islands of Louisiana. With them was Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques, who wanted to study the impact of the oil below the surface of the water. Upon approaching the island, a Coast Guard boat stopped them. “The first question was, ‘Is there any press with you?’ ” says Herbert. They answered yes, and the Coast Guard said they couldn’t be there. “I had to bite my tongue. That should have no bearing.”

Estimates Suggest Spill Is Biggest in U.S. History [NYT]
BP Attempts ‘Junk Shot’ to Stop Flow From Gulf Well [WSJ]
Obama Defends Handling of Gulf Oil Spill [CNN]
BP’s Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill [Newsweek]
“It’s BP’s Oil” [Mother Jones]