Gulf of Mexico oil spill five times larger than previously thought
Top story: U.S. Coast Guard officials say the amount of oil seeping from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico has increased to as much as 5,000 barrels a day, five times more than was originally thought. The 100-mile wide oil slick caused by the leak is now only 16 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
A third leak has also been discovered in the pipeline connecting the sunken rig to the oil well. The first two were discovered a few days after the explosion on the Deep Horizon on April 20. The Coast Guard also attempted a controlled burn of part of the oil slick on Wednesday, an operation they say was successful.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has requested emergency help from the federal government as the oil slick nears the coast. If large amounts of oil reach the shore, it could be devastating to the state's coastal wetlands as well as its fishing industry.
The chief operating officer of oil giant BP, which owns the leaking well, says the company would welcome the help of the military in containing the spill.
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-By Joshua Keating
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