Hundreds of thousands of people from across the world are logging on to see live video of oil gushing from a broken pipe that is responsible for the gargantuan petrochemical spill in the Gulf of Mexico and increasingly, the coastal wetlands that protect New Orleans.

The live video feed, transmitted from 5,000 feet below the sea’s surface, was posted Thursday on the website of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.  Days later, massive demand to see the damage being done below the earth’s surface has jammed the feed, making the unstoppable spill unwatchable too.

Committee chair  Rep. Ed Markey, a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, has persistently criticized BP for failing to work with outside scientists to determine the exact size of the spill. Independent scientists using what video, satellite photos and other data BP has made available have determined that the gush of oil may be much more than the  5,000 barrels a day estimated by BP.  With more data, scientists say they could better calculate the flow of oil from the sea floor. The live feed is a first step towards making more information publicly available, Markey said in a May 19 letter to BP.

“This is a victory for transparency and open access to information, and for the ongoing efforts to understand the magnitude of this unfolding disaster and how best to solve it. Now the world can see what is happening 5,000 feet beneath the ocean floor,” Markey reiterated in a statement issued Thursday.
In response to Markey’s letter, BP made the  live video available on its website,, and said it had already been providing a live feed to government agencies for two weeks.