Video: New video shows oil rig blaze

  1. Transcript of: New video shows oil rig blaze

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: And now to the latest on that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico . There is new video this morning of the rig explosion and fire that triggered that environmental disaster . And oil has now reached the so-called loop current that could take it to Florida and then up the Atlantic Coast . NBC 's chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson is in Venice , Louisiana , with more for us. Anne , good morning to you.

    ANNE THOMPSON reporting: Good morning, Meredith . Today marks one month since the accident, and still oil gushes from that well at the bottom of the sea. But first, new pictures of what started it all. Dramatic new video just released this morning by National Geographic of that horrific fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that took 11 lives. This is 34 hours after the explosion. The rig erupts in giant fireballs before sinking beneath the water. From an airboat Tuesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal saw what he long feared, large swatches of heavy oil in the coastal marshes. Environmentalists say the rust-colored substance is oil treated with dispersant, the black pure oil, both poised to strangle the state's precious wetlands, home to some 400 different kinds of fish and wildlife.

    Governor BOBBY JINDAL (Republican, Louisiana): The cost -- the difference between keeping this oil out and having this oil in this wetlands, it literally can be life or death for many of these species.

    THOMPSON: And oil is now in the loop current . Government scientists say it is just a light sheen that could travel to the Florida Keys but should not pose a danger to them.

    Mr. CHARLIE HENRY (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): We actually expect most of that to dissipate or probably degrade or weather before it actually would even come close to threatening the South Florida area and the straits of Florida .

    THOMPSON: BP says the insertion tube is now collecting 3,000 barrels of oil a day, an improvement but by no means a solution. That may come as early as

    Sunday, when BP tries the top kill technique: sending heavy drilling mud through the blowout preventer and into the well to hold down the gush of oil. This clearly is what the government believes is the best chance to stop this disaster.

    Read Admiral MARY LANDRY (US Coast Guard): I think let's all keep our fingers crossed, let's all say our prayers. We absolutely hope top kill works. We're anxious to see that it does.

    THOMPSON: Now, a coalition of environmental groups is asking the president to order the federal government to take a more direct role in the environmental monitoring, testing and public safety aspects of this crisis, saying that BP 's performance over the past month has been, quote, "grossly inadequate."

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