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Gulf Surface Oil Vanishing (Too) Quickly

From an outraged New York Times:

On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay

By JUSTIN GILLIS and CAMPBELL ROBERTSON

July 27, 2010

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

And by “good news,” you know the New York Times means exactly the opposite. 

The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there.

Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf

Would this possibly help explain the government’s concerted effort to keep reporters away from the spill area?

The dissolution of the slick should reduce the risk of oil killing more animals or hitting shorelines. But it does not end the many problems and scientific uncertainties associated with the spill, and federal leaders emphasized this week that they had no intention of walking away from those problems any time soon.

So ‘don’t give up hope. We can still milk this thing.’

The effect on sea life of the large amounts of oil that dissolved below the surface is still a mystery. Two preliminary government reports on that issue have found concentrations of toxic compounds in the deep sea to be low, but the reports left many questions, especially regarding an apparent decline in oxygen levels in the water.

Ever notice how reports always "leave many questions" when they don’t produce the answers the media wants?

And understanding the effects of the spill on the shorelines that were hit, including Louisiana’s coastal marshes, is expected to occupy scientists for years

Or at least until their grant money runs out.

Scientists said the rapid dissipation of the surface oil was probably due to a combination of factors. The gulf has an immense natural capacity to break down oil, which leaks into it at a steady rate from thousands of natural seeps. Though none of the seeps is anywhere near the size of the Deepwater Horizon leak, they do mean that the gulf is swarming with bacteria that can eat oil.

Funny, today is the first time we have heard anything about this in either the New York Times or any of the rest of the administration’s media stooges.

The winds from two storms that blew through the gulf in recent weeks, including a storm over the weekend that disintegrated before making landfall, also appear to have contributed to a rapid dispersion of the oil.

And our media masters had such high hopes for these storms.

Then there was the response mounted by BP and the government, the largest in history, involving more than 4,000 boats attacking the oil with skimming equipment, controlled surface burns and other tactics.

How many times did The Times and the rest of our agenda media ever report that the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was the largest in history? Or that it was also the fastest? (Hint: none.)

Some of the compounds in the oil evaporate, reducing their impact on the environment. Jeffrey W. Short, a former government scientist who studied oil spills and now works for the environmental advocacy group Oceana, said that as much as 40 percent of the oil in the gulf might have simply evaporated once it reached the surface.

Another detail we have never heard before.

An unknown percentage of the oil would have been eaten by bacteria, essentially rendering the compounds harmless and incorporating them into the food chain

Which will in turn help the rest of the sea life in the Gulf. So the oil spill might very well end up helping the sea life and the people who make their living off of fishing there — like fertilizer for the sea. (Fertilizer being also largely petroleum based.) Isn’t that ironic?

Still, it is becoming clear that the Obama administration, in conjunction with BP, will soon have to make decisions about how quickly to begin scaling down the large-scale — and expensive — response effort. That is a touchy issue, and not just for environmental reasons.

The response itself has become the principal livelihood for thousands of fishermen and other workers whose lives were upended by the oil spill. More than 1,400 fishing boats and other vessels have been hired to help deploy coastal barriers and perform other cleanup tasks

And we certainly don’t want to wean any of these people off the government teat too soon. They might not be fully dependent yet.

States have been pushing the federal authorities to move quickly to reopen gulf waters to commercial fishing; through most of the spill, about a third of the United States part of the gulf has been closed. The Food and Drug Administration is trying to speed its testing, while promising continued diligence to be sure no tainted seafood gets to market.

So, once again, it’s the federal government that is lagging behind.

Even if the seafood of the gulf is deemed safe by the authorities, resistance to buying it may linger among the public, an uncertainty that defies measurement and is on the minds of residents along the entire Gulf Coast.

“How do we get people to buy our food again?” Mr. Johnson asked.

You could start by telling people that oil is not poison. People used to eat ‘petroleum jelly’ – for all kinds of illnesses.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Gulf Surface Oil Vanishing (Too) Quickly”

  1. Right of the People says:

    I guess good old Mother Earth can take pretty good care of herself without us puny little humans doing anything. Sort of like the “global warming” stuff just give her time and she’ll handle it.

    Old Mommy Earth just jumped up and bitch slapped a whole bunch of the environmental whackos didn’t she?

  2. Gil says:

    “The earth is the Lord’s.. ” (Psalm 24:1)

    I guess He had what is HIS under control all along.

  3. chainsaw says:

    Scientists: BP dispersants have made spill more toxic

    Amid growing concern about the use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico, a group of scientists working for law firms suing BP says their testing indicates that the dispersants being used to break up the oil are making this spill even more toxic to marine life.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38415786/ns/nightly_news-nbc_news_investigates

    And so it goes, the danger is more than still present. And to think, it only took them (MSMW) 3 days to quickly replace the “where’s the oil slick” reporting. There will be full coverage of the dangers of dispersants used later this week (someone tell me how it goes, I refuse to watch).

    Anyone notice the conflict from the scientists? How dare BP think they could get away with a smaller clean-up bill. Before you know it, more claims will be filed than residents in LA, MS, AL and FL combined.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      The only answer is to do away with oil entirely. We must all of us use only rubber-band powered vehicles if we have to go anywhere at all.

      The rules of unintended consequences are so tangible here. “The cure is worse than the disease”? I should hardly think so. I don’t know but I suspect the dispersants had to be tested and approved by none other than the EP freakin’ A, right?

      So, the EPA was wrong?

      Not only that, but I recall a quickly-squelched story about using dispersants early on in the leak.

      No, for me, the federal government was slow-to-act and as far as I can determine, it was intentional. They appear to have hoped for blacked out beaches as far as the eye could see, in order to eliminate, or seriously curtail usage of fossil fuels in this nation and, to a much greater extent, to ram through cap and tax legislation.

      This regime is a jobs killer. Since day one of his immaculation, more jobs have been lost since the great depression of 1929. If he and his cronies are as smart all many seem to think they are, then why do they fail to understand the obvious?

      The Occam’s Razor is: It’s INTENTIONAL.

      No further investigation is necessary. All the discussion about his background, his psychological upbringing, associations, etc…..pointless. His behavior and the results thereof have shown he is BAD NEWS for this nation. He is intentionally having a fit of anger and has similarly angry helpers in every corner of the room.

      He intends to burn down this house after he’s done taking an axe to everything else.

      Never in a sitting US president have I seen/heard/read about such a walking disaster as this guy. He hates this nation with every fiber of his being. He is determined to ruin it for everyone with a “see? how do YOU like it…heh heh heh” attitude.

      He must be stopped.


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