An oil slick has begun washing up on the US Gulf Coast - threatening to devastate communities in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
The oil pollution is likely to harm wildlife, fisheries, and the tourism industry. BBC News website readers have been explaining their fears.
Sunday 2 May:
DONNA DAVIS, ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA
Donna Davis fears she will lose her job if tourists stay away
Most likely, I will be out of a job in two weeks.
I work for a beach condo rental company - we have about 70 properties along the Gulf Coast.
The oil has not even reached the shore in Alabama - but already we have guests cancelling their holidays. They call up and say: "I don't wanna come to the beach".
We are a small family business and my boss is getting very, very anxious about these empty condos.
This is the beginning of our peak holiday season. We have bookings right through June, July and August. But people are not going to come to a beach that smells of oil and is covered in clean-up equipment.
This whole area depends on tourism - it's a huge industry. People come for the snow white sands and the charter boat fishing. But the beaches are going to be black.
We are only just recovering from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 - there was a storm surge which obliterated buildings. And then of course we had (hurricane) Katrina.
Tomorrow the oil is expected to reach the shore here in Alabama. You can almost smell it in the air.
And the thing that makes me angry is - nobody is doing much to protect us. They have a couple of oil boons out there, about a foot high, and the waves are crashing right over them.
Meanwhile they are all still sitting in meetings trying to agree what to do. The accident was on April 20th! And still they haven't got a plan.
The white sands of Alabama may soon be turning black
DR ISTVAN BERKELEY, LAYFAYETTE, LOUISIANA
Here in Lafayette, a few miles inland, yet one of the main hubs of the oil industry, the leak, or "The Black Tide", as people are calling it, is a major topic of discussion.
People are saying things like "It is Armageddon in slow motion", and, of course comparing the situation to Katrina and Rita.
The major fears here concern the seafood. We ate shrimp last night just because we don't know when we will see them again.
People were ordering both shrimp and oysters in large amounts last night in restaurants. This is because there is a genuine concern that these foods will just disappear (they are huge local favourites).
The other concern comes from the potential knock-on effects upon the oil and gas industry. Oil is a very important factor in our local economy.
Any reduction in activity in the Gulf has a broad economic impact. There are also concerns about the impact on tourism. The State economy is already in a tricky position, with major cuts coming in this year in areas such as higher education.
Should the "Black Tide" impact several of our major economic sectors, the prospects for the State could be very bleak indeed. It really is a mess. We are just hoping for some good news soon.