Alabama, Missisipi and Fla. declare emergency amid oil spill

As the Gulf of Mexico oil spillincreased in size five times beyond the original estimate ofscientists, the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi declared astate of emergency in an effort to contain the environmental andeconomic damage looming from the the offshore BP oil rig that sunk onApril 20.

At least 1.6 million gallons (6 million liters) ofoil have spilled so far, according to Coast Guard estimates, as theinitial government estimate of 1,000 barrels spilled daily had beenrapidly replaced by a 5,000 barrel figure.
The US Navy, National Guard and Air Force have scrambled to assist affected communities as theoil slick neared the Louisiana coast, threatening wildlife as well asthe shrimp, crab and lobster industry in the region.