New Orleans, La. – NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco says scientists could have established how much oil was flowing at BP's underwater leak with more equipment.
"We do have the knowledge and the instruments to do that. The decision was made that the first priority had to be to stop the flow."
BP now says it's recovering 5,000 barrels a day from a pipe inserted into a leaking well system. That was estimated to be the total amount - but the leak continues.
Meantime, NOAA is planning flights over the spill to establish its size and where it's going. The loop current in the Gulf connects to the Gulf Stream, which runs up the East Coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. So far, light oil from the spill's outer edges is now in that loop.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans