Oil slick just a few miles from Louisiana coast - CNN.com A 120-mile oil slick advanced to within a few miles of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday as authorities scrambled to keep the spill from damaging wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico. The slick was about three miles off the Louisiana coast on Thursday night, according to Coast Guard spokesman Shawn Eggert. Oil company BP's ruptured well is at the heart of the spill. State and federal agencies have strung miles of floating booms -- inflatable or foam barriers -- around the leading edge of the shoreline in an effort to contain the spill. Authorities said the spill could begin affecting some areas of the coast overnight. Oil spill could be disaster for animals, experts say - CNN.com A huge oil spill oozing toward the Gulf Coast on Thursday threatens hundreds of species of wildlife, some in their prime breeding season, environmental organizations said. The Coast Guard said Wednesday that the amount of oil spilling from an underwater well after an oil rig explosion last week has increased to as many as 5,000 barrels of oil a day, or 210,000 gallons, five times more than what was originally believed. Although efforts to minimize the damage are under way and options under consideration include asking the U.S. military for assistance, wildlife conservation groups say the oil could pose a "growing environmental disaster." Stopping Gulf Coast oil leak could take weeks - CNN.com BP, the well's majority owner, has been trying to stop the flow by using remote-controlled submarines to activate a valve atop the well. But the valve, known as a blowout preventer, is not working. A stopgap plan -- putting a chamber over the well area and sending the oil to a ship -- is unproven at that depth and could take four weeks before it's ready. And the ultimate plan -- drilling a different well to access the first and close it with cement -- could take three months. Meanwhile, efforts to contain the spill and stop the leak are costing the well's owners about $6 million per day, BP says. BBC News - Oil 'reaches' US Gulf Coast from spill Up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day are thought to be spilling into the water after last week's explosion on a BP-operated rig, which then sank. President Barack Obama has pledged "every single available resource" to help. The US navy has been deployed to help avert a looming environmental disaster. The US Coast Guard said it had sent investigators to confirm whether crude oil had begun to wash up on parts of the Louisiana shoreline. "This is a very, very big thing," said David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He told the Associated Press news agency: "And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling." The US government has designated the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as an "incident of national significance". This allows it to draw on resources from across the country to deal with the leak. Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, has declared a state of emergency and asked for federal funds to deploy 6,000 National Guard soldiers to help with the clean up.