News / USA

More Oil Captured from Spill in Gulf of Mexico, But BP Well Still Leaks

Oil off the coast of Louisiana
Oil off the coast of Louisiana

The Obama administration says the effort to contain the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is making progress, with more oil captured each day. But oil continues to escape from the leaking well, and clean up will take years, and no one really knows what the future holds.

These are the signs that pull at the heart.  Baby pelicans rescued from the oil.  Scientists say they cry for their parents.

Workers from the International Bird Rescue Center hold their beaks and soak the birds in vegetable oil.

"We use some kind of light oil that we heat up and we actually work it into the oily feathers.  It loosens the oil up," said Jay Holcomb from the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Then they bathe the birds with dishwashing liquid. A tooth brush is used around the eyes to protect them from the suds. Then the little ones go under the blow dryer.

"They are so happy once they're de-oiled and it actually makes you feel pretty good that this part of the operation is being done to save these animals," said Mary Dwyer - a volunteer.

Off the coast of Louisiana, thick patches of goopy oil.  Scientists have now found oil suspended in the water down to 1,000 meters.  The Coast Guard says the cap now allows the collection of about 15,000 barrels a day - an increase of about 4,000 barrels from Monday.  But three of the four vents remain open, still spewing thousands of barrels of oil to the surface.

"The reason those vents have not been closed yet are two reasons," said Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. "To prohibit the buildup of hydrates and something called chatter.  If you get too much pressure in just the oil, everything moving around, they could dislodge the cap."

The spill may be occurring along the Gulf coast of the United States, but experts say it is an international problem.  Celine Cousteau is the granddaughter of world renown ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

"Whatever it is that happens in the oceans, happens to all of us," said Celine Cousteau. "A lot of our food resources come from our oceans. Those are going to be impacted.  Yes, it's an international issue. Not only that, it doesn't mean that because it happens in the United States it can't happen elsewhere."

As for longterm effects, scientists are trying to answer unending questions, but have few answers:

About drinking water contamination?

"That will be something we won't know until the event occurs," said Robert Twilley, from Lousiana State University.

About 4,000 - year-old corals?

We don't know how much oil is down there," said Thomas Shirley, from Harte Research Institute.

"And that's the prevailing comment.  The U.S. - the world - has never experienced a spill this enormous, this deep.  So, the scientists say no one can really predict the future of the ocean.  Or, the living creatures that rely on it.  

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs