May 4, 2010 — -- As roughly 200,000 gallons of oil spew daily from a broken valve 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, the ripple effects from the leak could eventually hit the wallets of people across the country.
An estimated 2.6 million gallons of oil have escaped into the water, and the oil slick is already affecting fisherman who are worried about how they will survive.
More than 6,800 square miles of federal fishing areas, from the Mississippi River to the Florida Panhandle, have been closed for at least 10 days, and tonight marks the end of a special shrimping season.
But far from the Gulf of Mexico, people who eat fruit, shrimp, drink coffee or even want to buy tires could end up paying more for such items because of the oil spill.
Cargo ships that transport fruit, steel, rubber, grain and other items could endure delays as they get their oil-coated hulls washed to avoid contaminating the Mississippi River, which could drive up costs, the Associated Press reported.
"Let's say it gets real bad," river pilot Michael Lorino told the AP. "It gets blocked off and they don't let anything in. They lose time, and they are very concerned about that. It's going to be very costly if they have to unload that cargo in another port and ship it back here because it was destined for here."
BP said it will pay for the recovery caused by the April 20 blast on an oil rig that killed 11 people.
"We're responsible for this cleanup and any impact that occurs," BP incident commander Keith Seilhan said.
President Obama and others have questioned what exactly that will entail.
The Mobile Press Register reported that the federal government did not have any fire booms in the Gulf region, despite a 1994 response plan that called for them. Instead, booms had to be ordered from Illinois.
BP is working on three possible solutions to stop the oil that is flowing from the bottom of the sea. First, the company is trying to repair the valve that was supposed to prevent the well from leaking. BP CEO Tony Hayward on "GMA" Monday compared that operation to "conducting open heart surgery about 5,000 feet beneath the seabed."