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Gulf spill: What they're telling us

A daily recap of significant events and quotes on the nation's worst oil disaster.
/ Source: NBC, and news services

A summary of notable events for Wednesday, June 9, Day 50 of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. 

PLUME OR NO PLUME?A day after government scientists said tests confirm underwater plumes from the Gulf spill, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles continued to insist that no massive oil plumes in "large concentrations" have been detected under the surface.

"We have not found any significant concentration of oil below the surface," he said on morning talk shows. Watch video.

Beachgoers in 30 states and nearly a dozen countries plan to join hands later this month to form symbolic barriers to protect the shoreline from oil spills. The Hands Across The Sand movement started in February in Florida, before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. On June 26, people will stand up and hold hands for 15 minutes to form human chains. They will also pledge to take steps to conserve energy and let elected officials know they oppose offshore drilling.

"Our collective message is 'no' to offshore oil and 'yes' to clean energy," said Dave Rauschkolb, a restaurateur and surfer on the Florida gulf coast who organized the first such protest in February. "People in California will be metaphorically holding hands with people in Florida and Virginia and New Jersey."

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says BP's containment system is now catching about 15,000 barrels (630,000 gallons) of oil daily.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Senate hearing he would ask BP to repay the salaries of any workers laid off due to the six-month moratorium on deepwater exploratory drilling imposed by the U.S. government after the spill.  Salazar said an offshore drilling moratorium will be in place "until we can have a sense of safety, until we have a sense that this (kind of spill) can never happen again."

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds just a quarter of Americans back expanding offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, and most fault federal regulators for the spill disaster.

The direction of BP shares, which fall 4 percent in London, following a 5 percent drop on Tuesday, on worries that the company will have to suspend its dividend payment under pressure from U.S. politicians who say the money should go to pay for legal claims and environmental damage.

"I make my way to the back of the boat unaware of just how covered I am. To be honest, I probably look a little like one of those poor pelicans we've all been seeing for days now."
-- Rich Matthews, AP journalist who dived into the Gulf to get a firsthand look at the beneath-the-surface effects of the spill. See video.