The Obama administration and BP executives have another reason to clash: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed independent research findings that the ruptured BP well has sent massive undersea plumes of oil, some 15 miles long, flowing through the Gulf of Mexico. "It's an infusion of oil and gas unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history," says scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, who adds that the effects on coastal sea-life could last for years. But BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles says that neither BP nor anybody else has found clear evidence that there are deep clouds of oil in "large concentrations" from the BP spill. Who's right? An AP correspondent put on scuba gear to see for himself what the sea looks like underneath the oil slick on the surface. Watch his report:
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An EPA contractor collects water to test for oil. If plumes are indeed shooting beneath the water, the effects of the spill could be much more long-reaching. Getty
June 10, 2010
of The Week magazine.