The crisis began last week when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon sank in deep gulf waters, days after it exploded and caught fire. Of its crew of 126, 11 are missing and presumed dead. The rig was owned by Transocean Ltd. and operated by BP, which is responsible for the cleanup.On the political impact, see "Gulf oil spill is a political challenge for Obama's energy policy." And at Washington Post, "As oil spill hits Louisiana coast, critics assail Obama's offshore drilling plan." Obama's gonna get hammered by the radical left base of his party on this (netroots enviro-Nazis are already pissed off), and he'll flip-flop on his drilling plan to mobilize the environmental vote. None of this changes the fact that we need to increase domestic supplies, but the Gull spill will be exploited out of pure political expediency. Soon we'll see the spill used as a battering ram on Sarah Palin, to weaken the attractiveness of her robust embrace of increasing domestic supplies. More at USA Today, "Should oil spill end Obama's offshore drilling plan?" And at ABC News, it's happening already, "White House Says No New Offshore Drilling Until Investigation is Complete: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Threatens to Jeopardize President Obama's Offshore Drilling Policy."
Oil has been leaking at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day. Because it could take 90 days to drill a relief well to stem the flow, the spill could reach 18.9 million gallons, more than leaked from Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound, the worst spill in U.S. history.