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THE BLOB: Oil Enters The Mouth Of The Mississippi; ‘Drill, Baby, Drill!’ Choir Uncharacteristically Silent

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THE GUARDIAN: The US coastguard is investigating reports that oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig has begun washing ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi river. Yesterday the coastguard said up to 5,000 barrels a day were flowing into the sea – five times the rate previously estimated – as an assistant chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said he was “frightened for the country”. Louisiana has declared a state of emergency and the White House said the president and the joint chiefs of staff were being briefed regularly on the situation. Yesterday Barack Obama said BP was “ultimately responsible” for the spill. A spokesman confirmed that the US national coastguard had received reports of the oil washing bp-viet-cong.thumbnail.jpgashore. He said officials from the coastguard and BP were out investigating the reports, and would make an announcement later today. Last night NOAA said persistent winds from the south-east were forecast through the weekend, which would continue to push the oil ashore. It has declared the incident a “spill of national significance”, defined as: “A spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary co-ordination of federal, state, local, and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge.” The designation allows for a wider federal response, with funds and assets being used from around the country, particularly from other coastal areas. “I am frightened for the country, for the environment,” said David Kennedy, assistant chief of the National Ocean Service at NOAA. “This is a very, very big thing, and the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling.” MORE

drill_baby_drill_large.gifSALON: Of all the politicians and pundits who urged the nation to “Drill, baby, drill” and “Drill here, drill now,” only Rush Limbaugh seems willing to venture an argument. Or rather a conspiracy theory, insinuating that terrorists decided to blow the rig to celebrate Earth Day. He doesn’t seem to realize that an oil spill caused by terror would be just as devastating as a spill caused by error, and is an equally powerful reason not to drill. Nobody will ever support drilling more avidly than Palin, who instantly rejected Obama’s proposal to permit ocean drilling where it has previously been prohibited. “Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations. Instead of ‘drill, baby, drill,’ the more you look into this the more you realize it’s ‘stall, baby, stall,’” she complained. Soon, perhaps, we will  be able to imagine how much more oil could be pumped onto the beaches and wetlands if we got rid of all those burdensome rules. MORE

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