Gulf Coast Oil Spill Reaches Shore

Crews scrambled to protect wetlands and fishermen rushed to scoop up shrimp as oil began to wash ashore on the Gulf Coast last night.

Officials warn that the spill from a BP rig—which is five times bigger than had been believed—could be America's worst environmental disaster in decades. Sensitive wildlife habitat and rich fishing grounds stand to be devastated.

At a 40-minute briefing with executives from British Petroleum (BP), Sen Nelson said he reiterated that the economic liability cap of $75 million would be exceeded in the current disaster.

"This potential economic and environmental disaster could be of epidemic proportions," he said.

As the greasy waft of the great Deepwater Horizon oil spill reaches New Orleans and thick gobs of oil permeate Louisiana's bayous, Gulf Coasters are bracing for the second monster catastrophe to strike the region in five years.