"Three words: oil-soaked shorebirds.
Those are the kinds of images that big oil and its supporters in Congress are fearing as a thin slick of crude created by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig drifts toward Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta.
Images of oiled birds helped launch the environmental movement four decades ago after a massive spill off Santa Barbara. Twenty years later, photographs from Alaska's Prince William Sound after the 11 million gallon Exxon Valdez spill spurred a new generation of outrage. ...
The crisis has come at what was supposed to be a shining moment for the offshore drilling industry. A moratorium that had been in place for nearly four decades after the Santa Barbara spill was allowed to expire under popular pressure for more domestic production. A Democratic president had given his blessing. Other companies were trotting out technology that could drill to record depths."