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Oil Slick Spreading Across Gulf of Mexico, Toward Coast

As oil from the last week’s drilling rig explosion spreads across the Gulf of Mexico toward coastal states, the federal government and the state of Louisiana are trying to respond to what could be a larger spill than the 1990 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.

President Obama has sent the secretaries of the Interior and Homeland Security and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gulf region to provide oversight and determine the cause of the spill, according to Bloomberg news.

At the current rate of about 5,000 barrels of crude oil leaked a day, the volume of the slick will exceed that of the Exxon Valdez spill by the third week of June. According to the Department of the Interior, it may take up to 90 days to choke off the leak.

After Exxon Valdez, a law was passed requiring oil companies to pay for cleanup after their spills. BP and its partners are spending $6 million a day to stop this leak and clean up the oil. The spill may reach the states along the Gulf of Mexico as early as Friday, and Louisiana has already declared a state of emergency.