MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER -- Precious shoreline habitat along the Gulf Coast is being fouled by oil from the worst U.S. oil spill in decades.
The damage began as documents emerged showing British Petroleum downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the rig that exploded, burned and sank.
BP's 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis said an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill and resulting environmental damage was unlikely, or virtually impossible.
The Coast Guard estimates now that at least 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled, threatening to make it the worst U.S. oil disaster since the Exxon Valdez in 1989.
Environmental lawyer Robert Wiygul says he doesn't see anything in the BP document suggesting the company addressed the kind of technology needed to control a spill at that depth of water. He says they should have had a plan in place.