Barges OK'd to Block Oil Spill from La. Bay

The Coast Guard said Friday that BP is now capturing more than a million gallons of oil per day, but that may only be half of the leak. Relief wells offer the best hope for plugging it. One of them is just 200 feet from completion, though it could take weeks to finish the job.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

Local officials here are finally beginning to blockade the entrance to Barataria Bay, responsible for a third of Louisiana's seafood revenues, with barges, CBS News Correspondent Don Teague reports.

It's a desperate attempt to keep oil out of the bay after a month-long battle with the Coast Guard for permission.

"As far as we know, we're breaking new ground," said Deano Bonano, director of emergency preparedness for Jefferson Parish. "Give a cajun some tools, and he'll figure out how to do something."

There will eventually be more than 60 barges anchored and tied end-to-end in the bay. When they are all here, that will make a 7,000-foot barrier to block and channel the oil.

It's a bold, unproven tactic devised by local political leaders, including Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle.

"By putting up this barrier and getting these pumps, we can suck it up and haul her away in a minute," Camardelle said.

The mayor pledged to do this at a cost of $31 million a month with or without federal permission.

"It's very frustrating," said Camardelle. "It's too many chiefs."

And too much oil is still pouring out of BP's blown-out well between 1.5 million and 2.5 million gallons every day.

The company is now capturing about a million gallons of oil a day and may soon double that amount.

"We're going to max out at that point of what we can produce with the current status on the wellhead," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said.

BP also has a new tool in its cleanup effort. Thirty-two oil-separating machines developed by Kevin Costner's research company are moving into the spill zone.

Beyond the oil dangers, researchers now say methane gas, escaping from the well in unprecedented quantities, could create massive dead zones in the Gulf, suffocating marine life.

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A Bad Day for Joe Barton and Tony Hayward
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