by Guest Blogger

May 8, 2010

The following update is from Dan Howells, Campaigner for Greenpeace US, currently in Louisiana…

Yesterday, Friday May 7, we met a few media crews in Biloxi Mississippi. We got on a boat with one of the crews and headed out into the waters of the Gulf. Rumor has it, and there are lots of rumors, this disaster of a spill is moving but the million dollar question is where is it moving and where/when will it hit the coast. They may be closing another area to fishing to the West of the mouth of the Mississippi so the oil must be going there? Pods of journalists are spread out along the shores looking for the picture they want.  One journalist commented the lack of visible oil is good for the environment not good for pictures. 

plane in the shadows of the oil spill

We did see oil (likely mixed with dispersant) quite a ways out from the port. According to maps we were at the edge of the "Zone of Uncertainty" to whether or not the oil would be going there. The lack of pictures of oil slicks coming ashore is missing the point and the spin from BP is good. "Dispersant," besides being toxic in and of it self and more so when it combines with the oil, is giving folks the impression the oil is dispersing and everything will be OK. They’re not seeing the oil so maybe there’s not a problem. 

Problem is we’ve got estimates of over 200,000 gallons of oil per day sitting in the Gulf, dispersed or not. The oil is toxic, everyone agrees with that. The dispersant is toxic everyone agrees with that. Whether in long (un)impressive streaks across the surface or sinking to the bottom it’s all toxic. And just because much of it is currently escaping the human eye does not mean it isn’t there.  One way or another the fish will eat it and the birds will eat them likely killing both. 

Clean up measures continue. We’re yet to see how this huge structure might work that BP is lowering over one of the two remaining spills still spewing oil into the Gulf. Everyone hopes it will work and that BP can do whatever it takes to stop the oil. Still the fact remains that even though we can’t see all of what’s happening out there, it is still happening out there. Rick Steiner has said many times over our time here that in the best case scenario with even the best efforts likely 90% of the oil still escapes, and he notes that 21 years after the Exxon Valdez Alaskans are still recovering from that spill.

oil rig

Greenpeace is going to see what we can do to find out what BP doesn’t seem to want us to know about the rest of the oil. Again we hope the measures BP takes to stop the spewing oil works. But the disaster has already taken place. The oil is already in the gulf. Economic and environmental damage has been done. Lives have been lost. The so called "Zone of Uncertainty" certainly can’t escape the reality of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


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