ON BARATARIA BAY, La. – The recent containment cap fitted onto a leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico is capturing 10,000 barrels of oil per day, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said Sunday. The federal government’s response manager to the Gulf oil dis
aster said Sunday that BP has made progress, but cautioned it was too early to call the effort a success. Hayward, the subject of speculation that he may be forced out of his position due to the political fallout from the environmental disaster, also told the BBC that he had strong support from BP’s board.
On Saturday, BP had increased the amount of oil it was funneling to about 420,000 gallons while the federal authorities estimate that 798,000 gallons of crude are gushing into the sea every day.
Brown Pelican Tragedy
Wildlife experts are scrambling to save the brown pelican, which were only recently removed from the endangered species list in November. Brown pelicans are the only species of pelican that dive into the water for fish, putting them at greater risk for death by oiling. Heavily oiled birds can die from exposure, by ingesting the toxic crude, or by drowning. One wildlife expert at the bird rehabilitation center at Fort Jackson likens oiling to trying to swimming while wearing a raincoat.
As of noon, June 5, 57 “visibly oiled” birds have been found dead since the oil spill began April 20 with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion off the Louisiana coast, according to government reports. The death toll, like the 156 visibly oiled birds found alive so far, has more than doubled since June 4, figures reflected in the accounts of boatmen, biologists and rescuers at Grand Isle on Saturday.
Florida Sen. George LeMieux, a Republican, demanded that BP donate $1 billion for a cleanup fund for the five Gulf states and said that President Obama “needs to push them to do that.”
“I want to see this president more engaged here on the ground, working through problems,” LeMieux said.