At bottom: Former Cheney firm Halliburton made repairs to sunken rig, is now 'assisting with the investigation'; Bill Maher Tweet suggests all "drill, baby, drill assholes" should help clean mess

While there's not yet any indication as to what caused the disasterous explosion that sunk a British Petrolium drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh has come up with a rather coy suggestion: "environmentalist wackos" did it.

Noting that the explosion happened on Earth Day, the man sometimes known as the GOP's de-facto leader spun a web of happenstance in which "the jury" was "still out," but "the regime" will let everyone know what really went down.

Later, on Thursday, HBO's Bill Maher Tweeted, "Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty."

President Obama has declared the spill a national disaster and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal initiated a state of emergency, calling for urgent help to prevent fragile wetlands and vital fishing communities along the coast from pollution on a massive scale.

Jindal listed at least 10 wildlife refuges in Louisiana and Mississippi in the direct path of the oil that are likely to be impacted, warning that billions of dollars in coastal restoration projects could be wasted.

As mile upon mile of protective inflatable booms were frantically lain along the coast, the White House pledged "all available resources," including the military, to avoid a catastrophe.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the decision to designate the slick a disaster of "national significance" would allow clean-up equipment and resources from across the United States to be used.

The increased government urgency came after officials revealed late Wednesday that the slick was estimated to be growing five times faster than previously thought following the discovery of a new, third leak.

"Satellite imagery from this morning indicates the western edge of the oil is 7-8 miles from the (Mississippi) Delta," the US government's National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. "Shoreline impacts become increasingly likely later in the day and into Friday with the strengthening onshore winds."

Latest: Oil slick hits US shores

At time of this writing, the slick's spread coated an area of the gulf nearly the size of Jamaica and was predicted by some to become the worst oil spill in history.

"The carbon tax bill, cap and trade, that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day," Limbaugh said, arguing that "hardcore environmentalist wackos" were opposed to its allowances for more nuclear power and more offshore drilling.

"What better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig?" he rhetorically asked. "I'm just, I'm just noting the timing here."

"Shares in BP and Swiss-based rig company Transocean Ltd fell by more than 6 percent Thursday as investors feared a significantly higher cleanup cost," Reuters reported. "BP is down more than 10 percent and Transocean is down nearly 14 percent since the rig explosion April 20.

"Oilfield services companies Cameron International Corp and Halliburton Co saw their shares tumble on fears about their ties to the Deepwater Horizon rig. [...] Halliburton said it did a variety of work on the rig and was assisting with the investigation."

The White House insisted no decision had been made as to whether or not the disaster would affect offshore drilling plans.

"Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) asked Obama in a letter Thursday to halt the drilling of any new wells offshore until the cause of the spill is understood," The Los Angeles Times noted. "He said he would introduce a bill to block the administration's increased offshore drilling plans."

This audio was snipped from The Rush Limbaugh Show by watchdog group Media Matters on April 29, 2010.

With AFP