Tuesday, June 8, 2010
When an offshore oil rig near the Louisiana coast exploded April 20, no one immediately anticipated the blast would spark the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Fifty days later, the environmental catastrophe is crystal clear.
In the following weeks, Americans have watched the CEO of the company responsible for the disaster jam his foot into his mouth repeatedly while efforts to stop the massive spill failed.
The government's response, lacking sufficient outrage according to the public, has been equally unable to keep thousands of gallons of oil each day from spewing into the Gulf.
BP CEO Tony Hayward has recently apologized for comments like, "I want my life back," that the Gulf was "a big ocean" and that "the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest."
President Obama used the gaffes to fire back, most notably saying in a "Today" show interview that he would fire Hayward if he were his boss and that he's looking for an "ass to kick."
All this while black ooze smothers the region's wildlife and economy.
Thad Allen, the Coast Guard admiral in charge of the government effort, summed up the chaos and confusion.
"Everyone wants certainty," he said. "With an oil spill like this, there isn't any."
Even the numbers are murky. Estimates peg the amount of oil floating in the ocean between 23 million and 49 million gallons.