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The Oil Catastrophe

It’s hard to grasp the magnitude of the ecological catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. At this point no one is certain how much oil is pouring from the well into the surrounding ocean. BP, adopting an early government estimate, has claimed that it amounts to a mere 5,000 barrels a day, but some scientists say the amount is closer to 60,000 or 70,000 barrels.

Taking the lesser of these estimates, that would translate into the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez spill every four days. Given that this has been going on for five weeks at the time of this writing, the gulf has by now absorbed nine such spill equivalents, with more to come. But picturing the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill—until now the largest in US waters—and multiplying by nine does not begin to convey the scale of the disaster. For the first time in history, oil is pouring into the deep currents of a semi-enclosed sea, poisoning the water and depriving it of oxygen so that entire classes of marine species are at risk of annihilation. It is as if an underwater neutron bomb has struck the Gulf of Mexico, causing little apparent damage on the surface but destroying the living creatures below.

This article appeared in the June 14, 2010 edition of The Nation.

Read the full article here: The Oil Catastrophe | The Nation.

See a related story in The Huffington Post ::: 

Does anyone seriously believe that BP has suddenly become a philanthropic venture interested in doing whatever it takes — sparing no expense — to make the Gulf region whole again? It will do the absolute minimum necessary to weasel its way through this crisis. Not a red cent more.

via Bob Cesca: How Soon Until the Free Market Stops the Oil Spill?.

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