This morning on Fox Business, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the ranking Republican legislator on the House Oversight Committee, spoke to host Don Imus about BP’s oil spill disaster. Imus asked Issa if he thought the Gulf region will ever be cleaned up and fully restored to its original state before the spill. Issa responded that he did believe the oil pollution could be taken care of, and explained that in Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez spill, the “environment heals itself in time after you take most of the sludge away”:
IMUS: I don’t see how they ever — I don’t see how they ever return the gulf region to pre this gulf spill. Do you?
ISSA: Nah, I do.
IMUS: You do?
ISSA: I’ve made two trips to Alaska and you know our environment heals itself in time after you take most of the sludge away. But, having said that, I don’t see we ever return to trusting our government or the oil companies without real reform.
In reality, while the vast majority of the oil from the Exxon Valdez spill has been cleaned up, toxic chemicals remain and the environment is still ruined in many respects. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council lists seven distinct species — including sea otters, killer whales, and clams — that still are considered to be “recovering” from the initial effects of the oil. Herring, the once abundant species of fish most of the local fisherman relied on before Exxon’s spill, have been virtually eradicated from the Prince William Sound. Many scientists believe that BP’s oil disaster has produced “five to six times the amount spilled in Alaskan waters in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez,” and many experts fear the chemicals used to disperse the oil will have lingering environmental effects for decades.