As Oil Spill Worsens, Questions Emerge on Obama Policy

Earlier this week, the working estimate on leakage from the BP rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was 1,000 barrels of oil each day. That changed Wednesday night, when Coast Guard and BP officials announced they had discovered a brand-new leak, upping the estimate to 5,000 barrels a day gushing into the water off the coast of Louisiana. Depending on the wind patterns, the 100-mile-wide slick could push into the coast as soon as Friday night, hitting the environmentally sensitive Mississippi River Delta.

At this new rate, by next week the spill could surpass the 1969 Santa Barbara spill that prompted a comprehensive moratorium on oil and gas drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. It would still be months away from exceeding the size of 1989's Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska. Still, if this one earns itself a place in the history books, it could call into question the wisdom of the Obama administration's already controversial decision to overturn that ban.

BBC News has video of the announcement here. The New York Times has an interactive guide on the potential environmental damage here.