05/03/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks

An oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico led to a leak that is spilling 5,000 gallons a day. BP has accepted full blame.

New Orleans, LA – President Obama visited the site of the oil spill off the Louisiana coast over the weekend of May 1, 2010, pledging government aide towards the cessation and clean up of the spill and also blaming BP for the disaster which has reached Gulf Coast shores, as reported by New York Daily News.

On Sunday, April 2, 2010, Obama deemed the explosion and resultant spill a “massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster,” and explained, “Let me be clear: BP is responsible for this leak. …BP will be paying the bill.”

The spill, which occurred after the oil rig explosion on Tuesday, April 20, has yet to be controlled. As of Monday, May 3, 2010, the leak was still spilling 5,000 barrels of oil a day.

Clean up crews have already begun the struggle with oil heading into the coasts of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. Experts warn the slick could travel outward around Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Needless to say, the spill has the potential to devastate wildlife, marine life, tourism and fishing in the Gulf Coast’s already fragile system.

CNBC reported on April 30, that BP announced it will compensate all those affected by the spill.

BP’s Chief Executive reported, “We are taking full responsibility for the spill and we will clean it up and where people can present legitimate claims for damages we will honor them. We are going to be very, very aggressive in all of that.”

According to analysts, the fishing industry could reach losses of approximately $2.5 billion. Tourism along Florida’s Paradise Coast could see a loss of $3 billion. Louisiana shrimpers have already filed a lawsuit.

This spill also comes at a tricky time for those who were proponents of offshore drilling. Obama was planning on opening some offshore sites for oil exploration.

BP reported that the spill was the result of a failed blow-out preventer on the ocean floor. It reportedly failed to operate correctly in shutting off the flow of oil. Failures of these instruments are extremely rare.

Scrutiny towards the regulations on drilling safety will likely result from this disaster as well.

Legal News Reporter: Tara Monks – Legal news for environmental lawyers.

YouTube video provided by Discovery News.

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