Disasters

Oil Spill Enters Mississippi River

The oil slick from the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving toward delicate ecosystems for birds and marine life. Booms were set in place to prevent oil from reaching grasslands and sandy beaches, but have become ineffective with five-foot swells pushing oily water over the boundaries. Hundreds of species of fish, birds, and other wildlife living on the Gulf Coast will be threatened as the oil reaches shore. The spill is five times larger than first estimated and is threatening to become America’s worst environmental disaster in decades. With 200,000 gallons of oil leaking out of the underwater well each day, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the spill "of national significance" on Thursday and announced that a second command post in Mobile, Alabama was being opened in addition to the Louisiana base to deal with the coastal impact of the spill in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ordered reviews of 30 offshore rigs and 47 production platforms in the deepwater Gulf, including on-site inspections.