"Oil Rig Blast Prompts Environmental Concerns"

"NEW ORLEANS -- As hope dimmed for the lives of 11 crew members missing since a drilling rig exploded in flames in the Gulf of Mexico, authorities turned their focus to controlling an oil spill that could threaten the fragile ecosystem of the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

The Deepwater Horizon had burned violently for nearly two days until it sank Thursday morning. The fire's out, but as much as 336,000 gallons of crude oil a day could be rising from the sea floor 5,000 feet below, officials said.

'If it gets landward, it could be a disaster in the making,' said Cynthia Sarthou, executive director for the environmental group Gulf Restoration Network.

BP PLC, which leased the rig and took the lead in the cleanup, said Friday it has 'activated an extensive oil spill response,' including using remotely operated vehicles to assess the subsea well and 32 vessels to mop up the spill.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said the company will do 'everything in our power to contain this oil spill and resolve the situation as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible.' He says the company can call on more resources if needed."

Janet McConnaughey reports for the Associated Press April 23, 2010.

Latest news accounts vary on how much oil, if any, is still seeping to the surface from the deepwater well.

See Also:

"Official: No Oil Spilling From Sunken Rig" (ABC News)

"Tackling Oil Rig Disaster 'number one Priority' -- Obama" (BBC News)

"Rig Sinking Prompts Fears of Gulf Oil Spill, 11 Still Missing" (Bloomberg)

"Flaming Oil Rig Sinks in Gulf of Mexico" (Los Angeles Times)

Source: AP, 04/23/2010