Over one month after the initial explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, crude oil continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, and oil slicks have slowly reached as far as 12 miles into Louisiana’s marshes. According to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, more than 65 miles of Louisiana’s shoreline has now been oiled. BP said it will be at least Wednesday before they will try using heavy mud and cement to plug the leak, a maneuver called a “top kill” that represents their best hope of stopping the oil after several failed attempts. Based on low estimates, at least 6 million gallons of crude have spewed into the Gulf so far – though some scientists have said they believe the spill already surpasses the 11 million-gallon 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska as the worst in U.S. history.
Volunteers from the Grassroots Mapping project made a trip in a small boat (upper left) to the the Chandeleur Islands near Louisiana’s Misissippi Delta on May 9th, 2010.
Natural gas from the damaged Deepwater Horizon wellhead is burned off by the drillship Discoverer Enterprise May 16, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast Louisiana.
The sun rises over an oil-soaked beach on May 23, 2010 on Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Specks of oil stick onto the foot of Maggie Grace Hurdle, 8, of Rosedale, Louisiana, as she walks along a beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Erica Miller, a member of the Louisiana State Wildlife Response Team, cleans a pelican of oil at the Clean Gulf Associates Mobile Wildlife Rehabilitation Station on Ft. Jackson in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.
Protective booms surround islands near mouth of the Mississippi River south of Venice, Louisiana from an oil spill Monday, May 17, 2010.
Oil reaches the marshlands on the northeast pass of the Mississippi Delta.
Oil is seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico about six miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Oil is scooped out of a marsh impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Redfish Bay along the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010.
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is seen clumped on roseau cane in the Northeast Pass of the Mississippi River on the coast of Louisiana near Venice, Tuesday, May 18, 2010.
Oil floats around booms and through marshlands of the Mississippi Delta.
Oil cleanup workers bring in a load of contaminated oil-absorbent booms from the Gulf of Mexico on May 20, 2010 near Venice, Louisiana.
Natural gas siphoned from the BP oil leak burns off on the Discover Enterprise on May 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast.
Maura Wood, Senior Program Manager of Coastal Louisiana Restoration for the National Wildlife Federation takes a sample of water in a heavily oiled marsh near Pass a Loutre, Louisiana on May 20, 2010.
Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Lindsey Allen attempts to save a small crab covered in oil walking along the shore of the breakwater in the mouth of the Mississippi River where it meets the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.
Crews try to clean an island covered in oil on the south part of East Bay May 23, 2010.
Collected oil burns on the water in this aerial view seven miles northeast of the Deepwater Horizon site over the Gulf of Mexico.
Bridget Hargrove of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, her four-year-old son Ayden and one-year-old daughter, Emma, wade in baby pools away from the oil contaminated Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Boat captain Preston Morris shows the oil on his hands while collecting surface samples from the marsh of Pass a Loutre, Louisiana on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
An outboard boat motor breaks up a thick layer of oil as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser toured the oil-impacted marsh of Pass a Loutre.
An oil-stained pelican leaves its nest as oil washes ashore on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills in Barataria Bay just inside the the coast of Louisiana.
An oil-soaked pelican takes flight after Louisiana Fish and Wildlife employees tried to corral him on an island in Barataria Bay on Sunday, May 23, 2010.
An oil-covered crab crawls past a blob of oil on the beach on May 22, 2010 on Grand Isle, Louisiana.
A young heron sits dying amidst oil splattering underneath mangrove on an island impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, along the the coast of Louisiana on Sunday, May 23, 2010.
A shrimp boat is used to collect oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana.
A ship’s wake cuts through a pattern of oil near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A ship maneuvers and sprays water near a rig in heavy surface oil in this aerial view over the Gulf of Mexico May 18, 2010, as oil continues to leak from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead.
A sheen of oil sits on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico close to the site of the BP oil spill as a boat uses a containment boom to gather the oil to be burned off approximately 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana May 18, 2010.
A reddish egret, its legs and tail feathers coated with oil, flies above the water in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
A Plaquemines Parish employee lays oil absorbent boom as pelicans leave their nests on an island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010.
A Louisiana Fish and Wildlife officer unsuccessfully pursues an oil soaked pelican in Barataria Bay, Louisiana on Sunday, May 23, 2010.
A helicopter flies over surface oil in this aerial view over the Gulf of Mexico, May 18, 2010.
A Greenpeace activist steps through oil on a beach along the Gulf of Mexico on May 20, 2010 near Venice, Louisiana.
A dead Northern Gannet covered in oil lies along Grand Isle Beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana May 21, 2010. A member of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research tagged the spot of the location of the incident.
A BP cleanup worker rakes oil from the beach on May 22, 2010 on Elmer’s Island, Louisiana. Authorities closed the popular tourist beach to the public and media wishing to visit the beach must be escorted by a BP official.
A BP cleanup crew removes oil from a beach on May 23, 2010 at Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
A boat travels between marsh and oil-stained boom near the mouth of the Mississippi River south of Venice, Louisiana Wednesday, May 19, 2010.