1) How long will the well keep spewing oil into the Gulf?
Since April 20, the day the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded, 210,000 gallons of oil per day--about 3.5 million gallons so far--have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. As of May 9, the affected area in the Gulf is about 130 miles long and 70 miles wide, and spreading. One million feet of boom has been set in the attempt to keep the oil away from wetlands and beaches. Yesterday, the fishing closure in Louisiana was extended west of the Mississippi River, bringing an entire region's primary economy to a halt. Efforts by BP to drop a domelike structure over the well head, 5000 feet down in the Gulf, were unsuccessful. Oil is coming ashore on the famed wade-fishing Mecca of the Chandeleur Islands, which as of May 7th were protected by booms in only a few places. We witnessed some booms that had been set already tossed onto the beach by waves, and partially buried in the sand. According to news reports, small "tar balls" were coming ashore at Dauphin Island, Alabama, and oil sheen has reached as far west as Timbalier Island, Louisiana. The bulk of the spill remains offshore, held there by winds from the north.