Off the wire

Oil spill estimates double
GRAND ISLE, La. —- The mind-boggling news that the oil leak at the bottom of the sea may be twice as big as previously thought could have major repercussions for both the environment and BP's financial health, killing more marine life and dramatically increasing the amount the company must pay in fines and damages.
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Gulf oil leak may be bigger than BP says
NEW ORLEANS — While BP is capturing more oil from its blown-out well with every passing day, scientists on a team analyzing the flow said Tuesday that the amount of crude still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico may be considerably greater than what the government and the company have claimed. Their assertions — combined with BP's rush to build a bigger cap and its apparent difficulty in immediately processing all the oil being collected — have only added to the impression that the company is still floundering in dealing with the catastrophe.

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Well cap captures more oil, but outlook's gloomy
NEW ORLEANS — The cap on the blown-out well in the Gulf is capturing a half-million gallons a day, or anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of the oil spewing from the bottom of the sea, officials said Monday. But the hopeful report was offset by a warning that the farflung slick has broken up into hundreds and even thousands of patches of oil that may inflict damage that could persist for years.
Read the complete story from WVEC.com.

Oil will darken Gulf Coast for years
WASHINGTON — The fragile economy and environment of the southern US coast will take years to recover from the worst oil spill in US history, President Barack Obama and his top disaster official warned Monday. As BP increased the amount of oil it is capturing from a broken Gulf of Mexico wellhead, the U.S. administration pressured the British company to step up compensation payouts to residents whose livelihoods have been shattered.

Read the complete story from Yahoonews.com.

Trained noses to sniff out Gulf seafood for oil
PASCAGOULA, Miss. — William Mahan bends over a bowl of raw shrimp and inhales deeply, using his left hand to wave the scent up toward his nose. Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat. He clears his palate with a bowl of freshly cut watermelon before moving on to raw oysters. Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat. He's one of about 40 inspectors trained recently at a federal fisheries lab in Pascagoula, Miss., to sniff out seafood tainted by oil in the Gulf of Mexico and make sure the product reaching consumers is safe to eat.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Jimmy Buffett laments the fouling of his paradise
PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. — The timing might be a bit off for tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville. But that doesn't bother singer Jimmy Buffett. As tar balls came ashore Saturday from an oil plume shooting out of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Buffett said he had no plans to delay the opening of a 162-room Margaritaville Hotel in a week.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Clam boat pulls up canisters off NY, crew sickened
BOSTON — A fishing boat dredging for clams off New York's Long Island pulled up 10 canisters, including one that broke open and released an unidentified chemical that caused two crew members to blister and struggle to breathe, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Secret revealed: How crocodiles cross oceans
How did the world's largest living reptile, the saltwater crocodile, reach so many South Pacific islands separated by huge stretches of water despite being a poor swimmer? Apparently, like a surfer catching a wave, these goliaths can ride currents on the ocean surface to cross large areas of open sea, researchers now reveal.
Read the complete story from WVEC.com.

Federal judge blocks Alaska's wolf-kill plan
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge on Monday denied the state of Alaska's request for a preliminary injunction to kill wolves, a step it said was needed to protect a caribou herd on an island in the Aleutian chain that is a subsistence food source for rural Alaskans there. U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland said that while sympathetic to the state's argument, he had to abide by law when ruling against the state's request to immediately conduct predator control in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Unimak Island.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Alberta grizzlies listed as threatened
Grizzly bears have been listed as threatened in the Canadian province of Alberta, and a ban on hunting has been extended by officials who say the animals are suffering from habitat loss and low reproductive success. While bears elsewhere in the Northern Rockies have been rebounding from near-extermination last century, fewer than 700 roam Alberta outside of Banff and Jasper National Parks.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.