Oil Under the Water May Be Worse Than Thought

BP could stand for "burning pressure," which is what the company's feeling more every day from the Obama White House. The message to BP: get the job done better, faster, more reliably. Or else.

To prove a point, charter boat captain Jeff Brunfield waded into Baritaria Bay. These waters look clean. Look again but deeper this time.

"I'll show you what's under the water," said Brunfield. "It's oil."

Lots of BP oil, hidden on the bottom of the bay. Brunfield says he can feel it squeezing between his toes.

"Look. Look at that," he said. "See? That shows you how thick it is down there."

He continued, "This is what's going to kill us, this stuff on the bottom because the shrimp and all that have to have the bottom."

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

BP's well could be leaking more than a million gallons a day, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassman. If so, BP's containing less than half of it.

Obama officials want the company to focus less on the gushing well, and more on stopping oil before it hits shore.

"We need to fight this war between the shore and the off-shore well," said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. "We've got to get our skimmers further offshore to minimize the amount of oil that comes ashore.

But no one knows how much oil has already stained coastlines.

Lauren Craig wants everyone to find out. "I think it's a lot bigger than we can see," she said.

Craig's group - the Bucket Brigade - flies kites mounted with cameras to take aerial photos. Their GPS helps plot oil-smeared landscapes. They post results on-line, looking for transparency - and more.

"We want to make sure that people are held accountable for what is happening down here," said Craig.

No camera will ever capture all the damage underwater.

"This is just what we're seeing here. What's behind us? What's out there four or five feet deep?" asked Brunfield.

From the surface you'd never know all the water was hiding this oil, and no one knows how much of it there is.

More oil spill coverage:

Sheriff Fears Illegal Immigrants Cleaning Oil
Ask CBS News: Is BP Hiding Anything?
Tempers Flare in Gulf as BP Burns Oil
How Much Oil Has Leaked?
Scared Investors Send BP Shares to 14-Year Low
Read Adm. Allen's Letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward
BP Given 72 Hours to Develop Better Plan
BP's Spill Contingency Plans Vastly Inadequate
Oil Spill Wildlife Devastation

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.