Video: Efforts to stem oil spill in overdrive

  1. Closed captioning of: Efforts to stem oil spill in overdrive

    >> bureau, thank you.

    >>> those efforts to stop the spill are in overdrive tonight as some louisiana residents see a lost tourist season and economic nightmare on the horizon. others are wondering why the oil company hasn't tried some other approaches to stopping the disaster. our coverage continues with our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson . good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, lester. tonight bp has the okay to go ahead and use chemical dispersents under the water at the leak site while the top hat containment dome sits ready and waiting on the sea floor . the first option is a six-inch wide pipe. to tame the monster slick p bp is counting on the insertion tool, a mile-long straw being connected to the hole in the broken riser on the sea floor . it would syphon water up to the tanker on to the water. how much oil is pouring into the gulf? the government says 5 million barrels a today. this engineer estimates 70,000 barrels a day.

    >> we see clouds. those features are traveling at the speed of the oil. by measuring the speed of those features, i'm able to measure the speed of the oil.

    >> reporter: the coast guard says the amount doesn't matter. it has always been working from the mindset this is a catastrophic event . the spill ig changing. no longer one big slick . officials say it is separating into smaller patches. it is easier to deal with when it comes ashore, but threatens a huge area of the gulf coast .

    >> it's not unlike where you engage in a war and you have an enemy. this happens to be oil. you need to know where the enemy is at.

    >> reporter: a plaqueman parrish representative says this is an enemy hard to see because it is forming tar balls that get underneath the boom and wash ashore.

    >> if we can't see it, we can't fight it and can't keep it out of the marsh. that would be devastating.

    >> reporter: a state of high anxiety that will exist until the leak is plugged. anne thompson , nbc news, venice, louisiana.

    >> reporter: this is mark potter in

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