Back on May 6, I discussed how dispersants do not solve the Gulf Coast’s oil problem (see “Out of Sight: BP’s dispersants are toxic “” but not as toxic as dispersed oil”). They do decrease the amount of oil that directly reaches the shores or the creatures that live on the shores or sea surface. But they increase the exposure to oil by creatures that live in the water or on the sea floor “” like, say, shrimp or oysters.
Now, finally, we have some must-see video of the hidden underwater “nightmare” BP has created, from Good Morning America, which had the help of “Philippe Cousteau and a team of specially-trained divers”:
Remember, BP’s CEO Tony Hayward said last week, “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.” And he calls the oil disaster’s ultimate impact “very, very modest”
In fact, though the Obama administration and local Gulf officials have acted quickly, history has taught that no amount of clean up effort will ever be able to fully reverse the spill of many millions of gallons of oil into the ocean. The legacy of Exxon Valdez still lingers today; Dr. Jeffrey Short of Oceana testified in a 2009 hearing that:
Despite heroic efforts involving more than 11,000 people, 2 billion dollars, and aggressive application of the most advanced technology available, only about 8 percent of the oil was ever recovered. This recovery rate is fairly typical rate for a large oil spill. About 20 percent evaporated, 50 percent contaminated beaches, and the rest floated out to the North Pacific Ocean where it formed tarballs that eventually stranded elsewhere or sank to the seafloor.
This is yet more evidence that 20-year Coast Guard veteran Dr. Robert Brulle is right: “With a spill of this magnitude and complexity, there is no such thing as an effective response.”
Think Progress notes:
While BP’s handsome profits will almost assuredly allow the company to survive the disaster, the impact on the Gulf caused by the release of 60 million gallons of oil is another matter. The ecological catastrophe will drag “BP’s reputation literally through the muck,” observes The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson. Some images from the Gulf region:
Dispersants decrease the amount of oil that directly reaches the shores or the creatures that live on the shores or sea surface. But they increase the exposure to oil by creatures that live in the water or on the sea floor “” like, say, shrimp or oysters.