UPDATE: Massive oil spill reaching LA coast - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Massive oil spill reaching LA coast

MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER (AP) -- Faint fingers of oily sheen have reached the mouth of Mississippi River, the vanguard of a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The slick is making its way toward a delicate environment of birds, marine life and some of the nation's richest seafood grounds.

By sunset Thursday, the oil had creeped into South Pass of the river and was lapping at the shoreline in long, thin lines.

Booms in place to protect grasslands and sandy beaches are being over topped by 5-foot waves of oily water in choppy seas.

In the distance, the lights of the fleet of boats working to keep more of the crude oil away from the coast were outlined in the dying twilight.

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NEW ORLEANS (WKOW) -- BP officials say they want to try an unusual technique to stop the flow of oil leaking from a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles says the company is studying whether to use chemicals to break up the oil under water.

The company has been going over research on the technique which has been used before, but never at these depths. The well is almost a mile underwater off the Louisiana shore.

He says the company is bringing the chemical to the site of massive spill and already has a giant reel of tubing in place.

If approved, work could start tonight.

Meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal  has declared a state of emergency so officials can start preparing for the coastal impact of the oil spill.

Jindal says at least 10 wildlife management areas and refuges in Louisiana and Mississippi are in the oil's path. He also said Thursday that coastal restoration projects that have cost billions of dollars are at risk.

Declaring a state of emergency allows Louisiana to free up resources to start preparing for the oil to reach the shore, which is expected soon.

The spill, which has become far worse than initially thought covering some 600 square miles of water, state officials estimated earlier Thursday. Those officials also say it is moving steadily toward the mouth of the Mississippi River and nearby wetlands. Those areas are home to hundreds of species of wildlife and include some rich oyster grounds and shrimping areas.

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- President Barack Obama says his administration will use "every single available resource at our disposal" to respond to the massive oil spill expected to reach the Gulf coastline within a day.

Obama said Thursday the response to the offshore rig that exploded and sank last week could include the Defense Department.

Obama said he has called the governors of the five Gulf Coast states. And he has dispatched top Homeland Security, Interior and Environmental Protection Agency officials to the region.

BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles said on Thursday that the company has asked the Department of Defense if they can help with better underwater equipment than is available commercially.

He says the company has specifically asked for imaging techniques and remote operating vehicles.

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The White House says an oil spill of the coast of Louisiana could impact Obama's new offshore oil drilling plan.

A Coast Guard official says administration believes BP doing what it should to combat oil spill.

The Obama administration is promising an all-out response to the massive oil spill that is now expected to reach the Gulf Coast within a day.

The White House is sending top officials to the region to help coordinate defenses against the potential environmental disaster.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice O'Hare told reporters at the White House that the agency is "being very aggressive" and is "prepared for the worst case."

Federal officials also said inspections of all oil rigs in the Gulf will begin immediately, and subpoena powers will be used in the investigation.

But they say the priority is to support the oil company BP PLC in using booms, skimmers, chemical dispersants and even fire to fight the oil surging from the seabed.

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The Obama administration says the cost of cleaning up a giant oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico will fall on the company that operated the rig.

The White House says President Barack Obama has directed his administration to aggressively confront the oil spill. The military is working to determine how its array of aircraft, ships and equipment might be able to assist the cleanup operation.

The spill off the coast of Louisiana threatens to turn into an environmental disaster for the coastline.

Obama was updated on the spill early Thursday. Although the Coast Guard and other federal agencies are supporting the cleanup, the White House says BP will be required to pay for it.

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NEW ORLEANS (WKOW) -- Its becoming difficult to contain oil leaking from a Gulf of Mexico drilling site.

BP's Chief Operating officer says the leak is more than the 1,000 barrels a day that was originally estimated last week after a deepwater rig exploded and burned off the Louisiana coast, and he says it may be as much as 5,000 barrels a day.

BP Plc and government scientists say they estimate the flow based on what reaches the surface because there is no way to measure the oil pouring out on the seabed.

 

27 News Continuing Coverage:

Authorities plan to burn thickest oil following oil rig explosion (April 28, 2010)

Coast Guard: new oil leak found in Gulf of Mexico (April 28, 2010)

No shoreline impact from oil leak in Gulf of Mexico for 3 days (April 26, 2010)

UPDATE: Coast Guard likely to call off search for missing workers (April 23, 2010)

Oil platform that suffered explosion sinks (April 22, 2010)

UPDATE: Company officials: no sign of trouble before oil drilling explosion (April 21, 2010)

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