As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill
increased in size five times beyond the original estimate of
scientists, the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi declared a
state of emergency in an effort to contain the environmental and
economic damage looming from the the offshore BP oil rig that sunk on
At least 1.6 million gallons (6 million liters) of
oil have spilled so far, according to Coast Guard estimates, as the
initial government estimate of 1,000 barrels spilled daily had been
rapidly replaced by a 5,000 barrel figure.
The US Navy, National Guard and Air Force have scrambled to assist affected communities as the
oil slick neared the Louisiana coast, threatening wildlife as well as
the shrimp, crab and lobster industry in the region.