Friday, July 30, 2010

America's Biggest Oil Spill

We will still have to see what the long term effects are--but so far, the damage of the BP oil spill appears to be more economic than ecologic.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion was an awful tragedy for the 11 workers who died on the rig...But so does not seem to be inflicting severe environmental damage. "The impacts have been much, much less than everyone feared," says geochemist Jacqueline Michel, a federal contractor who is coordinating shoreline assessments in Louisiana...

So far, the teams have collected nearly 3,000 dead birds, but...the
Valdez may have killed as many as 435,000 birds..."We can't speak to the long-term impacts, but Ivor is just saying what all of us are seeing," says Amy Holman, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) director for Alaska who is working on van Heerden's assessment team in the Gulf...

Marine scientist Ivor van Heerden, another former LSU prof, who's working for a spill-response contractor, says, "There's just no data to suggest this is an environmental disaster. I have no interest in making BP look good — I think they lied about the size of the spill — but we're not seeing catastrophic impacts." Van Heerden, like just about everyone else working in the Gulf these days, is being paid from BP's spill-response funds. "There's a lot of hype, but no evidence to justify it..."

"There are a lot of alarmists in the bird world," Kemp says. "People see oiled pelicans and they go crazy. But this has been a disaster for people, not biota."

From Time Magazine, 7/29/2010 "The BP Spill: Has the Damage Been Exaggerated?"

The photo essay of 100 Days of the Oil Spill is worth checking out, though notable for its absence is any mention of the US delay in accepting international offers of assistance.

HT The Rational Capitalist. (And be sure to check out the political cartoon he links to.)

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