Friday, May 21, 2010
Oil has begun to come ashore in Louisiana and it's clear that BP's estimate of 5,000 barrels per day was ridiculously low, especially now that live video has been obtained of the leak. by Rep. Edward J. Markey, (D-Mass) and posted by the congressional Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
The tube that was stuck down the broken well shaft is now collecting approximately that amount now, and it's obvious from the video that it's only a fraction of oil gushing out. Scientists analyzing the video estimate the actual leak is more like 70,000 barrels per day, much of it still underwater.
This is shaping up to be the worst environmental disaster on record - equivalent to one Exxon Valdez every four days.
Louisiana's coastal marshes are a haven for migratory birds and marine life -- or at least they were. Billy Nungesser, head of Plaquemines Parish visited the site yesterday and he was sickened by what he saw. "Twenty-four miles of Plaquemines Parish is destroyed. Everything in it is dead," he said. "There is no life in that marsh. You won't clean it up."
Richard Steiner, a retired University of Alaska at Fairbanks marine-conservation professor, agrees that much of the surrounding area will remain toxic.
"The oil hits the cane stalk and just seeps straight down to the roots," he says. In the coming days, the cane and surrounding grass is expected to turn dark brown, and effectively die. Says Nungesser: "We'll never pick this oil out of the marsh. There's not a fish, turtle, not a bug, that will survive."
As feared, the slick has now entered the Loop Current and is heading for Florida's beaches and fragile coral reefs. It's possible that it could travel up the east coast and into the Gulf Stream, spreading damage far beyond the Gulf of Mexico.
And what is BP doing about it? Lying about the extent of the spill and trying to keep journalists away from the area.
"I think now we're beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP," said U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey. "BP has lost all credibility … It's clear that they have been hiding the actual consequences of this spill." Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers