Large Oil Spill on the Mississippi?

From the AP (thanks mw and Ben):
NEW ORLEANS - A huge oil spill was spotted near two storage tanks on the Mississippi River downstream from New Orleans, state officials said Friday.  The oil was seen in a flyover to the Venice area by the Department of Environmental Quality.  "Two tanks with the capacity of holding 2 million barrels appear to be leaking," the department said in a statement.  No further details were given.
The ecological scope of this disaster continues to amaze.

Update [2005-9-2 12:11:40 by Prof. Goose]:Environmental Economics points us to this:

To give a frame of reference, the Exxon Valdez spilled 257,000 barrels, from its cargo of over 11M barrels. Not many details yet, but if true, this has the potential to be a major environmental (and economic) event.

Update [2005-9-2 12:17:28 by Prof. Goose]:Here's a very impressive site from the Society of Environmental Journalists that is covering many angles of this ecological nightmare.

I enhanced a MODIS image taken on Aug, 31st. There is a large black body in the water that looks like an oil spill.

The image is here.

Hmmm... I'm not sure that's oil.

Could it be freshwater runoff from the floods?

I'm no expert on sat images, but that looks WAY larger than anything anyone is talking about.

I'm not sure too, it looks a little bit too large (the image resolution is 250m).
From the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
Warehouse explosion and monitoring update
BATON ROUGE - The Department of Environmental Quality has not confirmed the cause of a warehouse explosion at 3500 Chartres Street along the river in New Orleans. DEQ staff was able to fly over the site and initially found nothing of significance in air. Further analysis of the air samples is ongoing and DEQ will update this information as it becomes available.
The department is continuing to assess the situation from the air. A flight to the Venice area revealed a major oil spill. Two tanks, capable of holding 2 million barrels, appear to be leaking. Currently, there is no way to access the area.
An infrared camera capable of detecting air releases from sources such as railcars, holding tanks and pipelines is scheduled to be in the air today. Two regular helicopters are expected to be available and will allow DEQ to assess larger areas.
Volunteers from EPA, Texas and other areas are starting to arrive at DEQ to help.
The department is currently using aerial photography and geo-referencing to identify as much as possible. DEQ is trying to find potential hazard areas so officials can be prepared when the areas become accessible.
DEQ will update this information on the DEQ website>
a reuters story with a little more detail.

And look, it's a little SSDD*

"There is oil leaking, but we don't have access to the area," said Jean Kelly, spokeswoman for the agency, adding that Homeland Security officials are restricting access.

No further details were available.

Coast Guard officials in St. Louis said they were looking into the report but that their priority was search and rescue in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

* "Same song, different disaster."  What did you think I meant? :)

Larger picture available here.
How about oil from the broken under-water pipelines?  I doubt they purge the lines before locking production in place.
I've read that they "pressure test" various pipelines before resuming production.  However, that may simply be to start the pump and see if it leaks anywhere.

Since they haven't gone anywhere near this spill (just flyovers) they are assuming its from the nearby storage tanks, it could easily be from a pipeline or more than one.

New story from the affected Parish.  At time of writing, nobody has actually made it to the scene.  Also note they are having levee problems of a different sort.
I don't know if these are related to the reported spill, but these photos from NOAA show oil slicks in the Port Fourchon area. The site has some fascinating shots of the damage.

Clearly oil on water:

Boats helter-skelter, in oil slicks: Also WHAT the hell is that hulking THING stuck in the road in the TOP CENTER of this pic?:

Object in the ocean off Port Fourchon and plume of oil:

Oil slick:

Damaged marina, center:

Zoom in on cleanup operation, lower right:

If anyone has knowledgable comments about these images, PLEASE comment.

NOTE: the orientation in these photos is uncertain and changes throughtout.

Mistake: zoom in on cleanup operation HERE, far right: