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Oil-containment effort likened to Apollo 13, toilets

Coast Guard Cmdr. Thad Allen, who's leading the federal response to the gulf oil spill, said the process is "more like Apollo 13 than the Exxon Valdez." A BP spokesman said a team of 20 experts is trying to come up with a way to inject materials to clog the contraption, "like plugging up a toilet."

Oil sheens reached Louisiana's barrier islands Friday, and there were predictions that the spill could reach the Mississippi coast by Sunday.

Speaking on CNN, BP chief executive Tony Hayward said he doesn't know how much larger the oil spill could grow.

Containment efforts have collected or destroyed no more than 14,000 of the estimated 85,000 barrels of oil that have spewed from the well since it exploded on April 20, Coast Guard officials estimated.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Michael Sole said oil traces could reach Florida's shores by Tuesday.

"The oil plume is 250 miles west of St. Petersburg," Sole said. "There is quite a bit of distance between Florida and this plume."

Poll shows drilling falls from favor

Though the gulf oil slick is far from Florida's coast, the consequences have led to a reversal among Florida voters, a Mason-Dixon poll released Friday says.

The poll conducted this week found only 35 percent of Florida voters support offshore drilling, while 55 percent oppose it.

Last June, 55 percent of voters favored offshore drilling and 31 percent opposed it.

In the current poll, 57 percent of Republicans support drilling, a drop from the 80 percent who favored drilling last year.

Wider swath of gulf closed to fishing

Federal officials have expanded an area that is off-limits to fishing because of the gulf oil spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday an area from the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River to south of Pensacola is now closed. NOAA spokeswoman Christine Patrick said the initial closure was 6,814 square miles and the new area is 10,807 square miles.

Oil-containment effort likened to Apollo 13, toilets 05/07/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 8:18am]
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