More Alarming Spill Footage

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Senators released several new terrifying videos of the well gushing oil into the Gulf yesterday. But the video below is perhaps the most shocking of all: footage of the spill site from Monday, May 17—the day after a pipe was inserted into the well to siphon a portion of the spill to the surface.

According to BP, the riser–a device that operates like a catheter–has allowed crews to capture 1,000 barrels of oil each day. That would be about one-fifth of the oil, if you believe BP’s estimate of the total size of the spill. But many people don’t think BP’s estimate is accurate. Outside estimates range from 26,000 barrels per day to 71,400. If that’s the case, siphoning off 1,000 barrels isn’t really all that much. BP, mind you, refused to release images of the spill site for weeks, and only released this new round of videos yesterday under pressure from senators. The company has clearly tried to keep the public from seeing exactly what is going on in the Gulf.

BP plans to use a “junk shot” to plug the well this weekend, a method the company describes as choking off the flow of oil and natural gas by shooting debris down the well. This is the latest effort to stop the spill—after capping it failed twice. But if the junk shot fails, experts say it would take until August for BP to drill a relief well.

So if this is what the well looks like with the temporary fix in place, we could be in for months of spillage at an unknown (and likely very high) rate.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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