Record Breaker

BP Spill Is Largest Accidental Oil Release Ever

This news, most likely, will not come as a surprise: Federal scientists announced Monday that BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill is—by far—the largest accidental oil release ever. What may come as a surprise, though, is that the latest data show that five million barrels have left the well since the spill started on April 20. “We’ve never had a spill of this magnitude in the deep ocean,” Ian R. MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, told The New York Times. “These things reverberate through the ecosystem. It is an ecological echo chamber and I think we’ll be hearing the echoes of this.” The government is still looking at the data and may refine the estimate, as measurements are reinforced by pressure readings within the well. The previous record was believed to be 3.3 million barrels, which had gushed into Mexico’s Bay of Campeche in 1979. Meanwhile, a final "static kill" that could shut BP's well for good is scheduled for Tuesday.