Oil Spil Update, Vessel Burns Gas
Flames blazed into the air in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. The drillship Discoverer Enterprise is burning gas from oil recovered from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak by means of an insertion tube.
Video released by the United States Navy shows aerials of the ship, surrounded by skimming vessels also tasked with trying to contain the spill.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He told lawmakers that between 1,500 and 2,000 barrels of oil a day were being collected by the insertion tube.
Estimates of the amount of oil flowing from the blown-out well vary from 5,000 to over 25,000 barrels a day.
Warning against finger pointing the blame, Salazar spoke of "collective responsibility" and highlighted the role of BP, Transocean, Halliburton, Cameron and others.
[Ken Salazar, U.S. Interior Secretary]:
"We have made it clear from day one that BP is the responsible party to take care of all of the costs associated with this incident including whatever damages might arise from this incident to natural resources as well as to people and businesses and communities who might be effected by this incident.”
During sometimes intense questioning, some lawmakers called for answers as to how the incident occurred as they questioned safety measures.
[Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator]:
"Mr. Secretary, it is long past time to drain the safety and environmental swamp at the Minerals Environmental Agency which of course is the lead federal agency over oil drilling. Now my view is that this agency had been in denial about safety problems for years."
The spill has been flowing unchecked since April 20, when an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig sank the drilling platform killing 11 workers.