Scientists: Gulf spill now far bigger than Valdez

Published May 27, 2010

COVINGTON, La. – Scientists say the Gulf of Mexico spill has now leaked far more oil than the Exxon Valdez disaster — maybe even three-and-a-half times as much.

That makes the Gulf spill by far the worst in U.S. history.

U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt said Thursday that a government task force estimates that anywhere from 500,000 gallons to a million gallons a day has been leaking. BP and the Coast Guard had put the flow at about 210,000 gallons per day.

The new government estimate means at least 19 million gallons and maybe as much as 39 million gallons have leaked in the five weeks since an oil rig exploded and sank. Exxon Valdez spilled about 11 million gallons.

BP is trying to plug the leak and says it has siphoned off about 924,000 gallons.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ROBERT, La. (AP) — New oil flow estimates by scientists studying the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico would make leak the worst in the nation's history, far bigger than 11 million gallons that spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt says the results are preliminary, but two teams using different methods determined the well that exploded April 20 and sank two days later has spilled between 17 and 39 million gallons.

Written by GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer

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