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Louisiana lawmakers propose prayer to stop oil disaster

By the CNN Wire Staff
Oil pools in between inflatable boombs near Grand Isle, Louisiana, on Saturday.
Oil pools in between inflatable boombs near Grand Isle, Louisiana, on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Statewide day of prayer declared in Louisiana to stop oil gusher
  • BP says it has paid $104 million to Gulf residents affected by oil spill
  • Up to 2.5 million gallons of oil estimated to be flowing into Gulf daily

You've seen the devastation. Now it's your chance to help. Tune in Monday night for a special "Larry King Live, Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help" telethon featuring an all-star panel of guests joining forces in the Gulf region. Don't miss "Larry King Live," 8 p.m. ET Monday on CNN.

(CNN) -- While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are proposing a different approach: prayer.

State senators designated Sunday as a day for citizens to ask for God's help dealing with the oil disaster.

"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week's unanimous vote for the day of prayer. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."

The resolution names Sunday as a statewide day of prayer in Louisiana and calls on people of all religions throughout the Gulf Coast "to pray for an end to this environmental emergency, sparing us all from the destruction of both culture and livelihood."

Also Sunday, wildlife officials were planning to transport and release 40 pelicans that rescuers rehabilitated after finding them covered with oil. The birds will be moved from New Orleans, Louisiana, to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Port Aransas, Texas.

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As much as 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons) of oil may be gushing into the Gulf every day, new government estimates found last week.

BP said it was able to capture roughly 8,480 barrels of oil from midnight to 12 p.m. Saturday. The company said it captured 24,500 barrels -- just over a million gallons -- of oil Friday, a little less than it captured the day before.

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BP said Saturday that it has paid $104 million to residents along the Gulf Coast who have filed claims related to the Gulf oil spill, issuing more than 31,000 checks in the past seven weeks.

There was no immediate response from local, state or federal officials to BP's tally of its payments.

Meanwhile, oil recovery efforts in the Gulf resumed Saturday morning on the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise, after work was suspended for about 10 hours because of a mechanical problem.

A venting device aboard the drilling ship as not working properly, said Ayla Kelley, spokesperson for the Deepwater Horizon command center.

Other recovery efforts continued during the time that the Discoverer Enterprise was idled, she said.

She said the problem was with a blocked flame arrester, designed to prevent oil from combusting by extinguishing the flame.