Is the oil spill really that bad?

The following is either the thought process of a skeptic or the mad scribblings of a schizophrenic mind.  First the obligatory disclaimer - All of the preliminary investigation suggests BP was grossly negligent in regards to the recent oil spill. BP should pay every cent for the cleanup and be heavily fined for the damage that it caused to the environment and to people’s lives. (Offer not valid where prohibited by law.)

With that said, will the Gulf recover from this spill a lot faster than we expected? From the beginning something didn’t seem right about the media’s coverage of this spill. What I remember from the Exxon Valdez disaster are images of scores of workers in hazmat suits using giant pressure sprayers along large runs of coastlines. I haven’t seen that here. I know this spill is bad but why is it that all of the images I see of this disaster only involve close ups of fish and frames of marshland about 20 to 30 feet wide.

Oh Nick, don’t be suckered. The reason you don’t see those images is because there is a conspiracy by BP and the government to prevent reporters near the cleanup.

You know when UFO people tell me there are no good pictures of flying saucers because it’s a conspiracy I start making tin foil hats for them. Could it be that the Valdez spill was more damaging because it was so close to shore?

It’s not tin foil hat stuff. There is precedence for this kind of cover-up by the government. Remember how the Bush administration lied about NY’s air quality after 9/11. That wasn’t a conspiracy theory. That was the conclusion of the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA.

Yeah, but the Bush administration was different than the Obama administration. Obama doesn’t have ties to big oil like Bush did. Because of the budget problems, Obama is going to want BP to pay as much as possible for clean-up and economic support for the gulf. It wouldn’t be in his interest to suppress news reports.

You naive bastard. He’s worried about his poll numbers.

If he is supporting the building of a mosque near ground zero, I don’t think he much cares about poll numbers. Besides I saw this graphic recently from CNBC. Between 100 to 300 million gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf. If the Gulf were the size of the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas (the biggest football stadium in the world) than the oil spill would be equivalent to a 24 ounce can of beer. I’m not a marine biologist, but to me, that’s something the environment might be able to handle?
Forget about those fancy pants graphics. Besides CNBC is well known for pandering to anti- environmental conservatives (insert sarcasm here). What about the 1979 Mexican Ixtoc oil spill in the Gulf that you wrote about? 140 million gallons of oil.  Didn’t that have an effect?
Well yes and no. I’ll give you the quote from the Herald Tribune:
“Nearly a year after Ixtoc…The population of crabs and mollusks near shore nose-dived. Mats of green algae covered coral and rocks, either from repeated drenching in oil or from the loss of the creatures that would normally eat the algae.Offshore, the oil and dispersant mix wiped out the base of the food chain, particularly the zooplankton that feed on algae. This led to enormous algae blooms that hurt fish and shellfish.But there was no follow-up research. On the surface, the environment appeared to have bounced back within about five years”
On the surface, the environment appeared to have bounced back. Reportedly, there is still oil under the sand in that area but scientists just don’t know what the long term effects of this will be.

Thirty years later and there is still oil under the sand there?

Yeah, maybe that off shore drilling moratorium is not such a bad idea, at least until we can be sure things like this don’t happen again.

I don’t like this subject. There are no clear answers.

Yeah, that’s the way it is sometimes.


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