When chemical dispersants are sprayed onto the oil that’s floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, it makes the oil disperse into the water. It makes it sink.
Whether the oil that has been changed into tiny droplets by the dispersants will then be rendered harmless by natural organisms … or it will coat the ocean floor and cause further damage to underwater creatures … all depends on which group of scientists you are listening to at the moment.
Whatever dispersants do, good or bad, it’s my guess that BP loves them for yet another reason. Once sprayed by the dispersants, the black, shiny, OBVIOUS oil sinks out of sight … and out of mind. And the news media stops writing about it, and people stop thinking about it.
Oiled brown pelican. Photo by Flickr user IBRRC used under a Creative Commons License.
I just received the following very interesting news release:
(Arlington, VA – May 24) The PBS NEWSHOUR today unveiled an updated version of its popular Gulf Leak Meter widget. The original widget has been modified to include a live video feed of the oil leaking into the waters off the Gulf Coast.
NASA satellite photo of Gulf oil spill, taken May 17, 2010. Photo by Flickr user NASA Goddard Photo & Video used under a Creative Commons License
In an effort to broaden the conversation about the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill, seven Fellows of the Post Carbon Institute in Santa Rosa, CA, offer their perspectives on largely under-reported aspects and outcomes of the disaster.
Satellite photo gulf oil slick. (NASA Goddard Photo and Video)
These quotes were in a story about the gulf oil spill in the New York Times on Sunday (May 16):
“Scientists studying video of the gushing oil well have tentatively calculated that it could be flowing at a rate of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day. But the government, working from satellite images of the ocean surface, has calculated a flow rate of only 5,000 barrels a day.
“BP has resisted entreaties from scientists that they be allowed to use sophisticated instruments at the ocean floor that would give a far more accurate picture of how much oil is really gushing from the well.
“‘The answer is no to that,’ a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said Saturday. ‘It is not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.'” Read the rest of this entry »
Matter of Trust is a San Francisco nonprofit that has established a process for donating animal fur and human hair to create absorbent booms to soak up and remove oil from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Companies like Pet Food Express and Petco are collecting pet fur from their grooming salons and donating the fur to Matter of Trust. With nearly 1,000 grooming salons, Petco claims to be shipping about a ton of donated fur per day.
Yes, that’s a LOT of fur. Unfortunately, there’s also a LOT of oil to be soaked up. /Gary
The Center For Biological Diversity has launched a “Gulf-Crisis Website” that they will update daily with information on how big the spill is (total gallons spilled, continuously updated)) … where it’s hitting shore (spill maps) … what species are suffering the impacts … how the rescue effort’s going … what if there’s a spill in the Arctic … how often spills occur … what you can do? … and more.
It’s Not Just BP That Bears Responsibility for Spill; Government Is Responsible Too
Friends of the Earth’s president, Erich Pica, had the following response to President Barack Obama’s remarks on May 2 in Louisiana about BP being responsible for the Gulf spill:
“President Obama was correct when he said BP is responsible for this spill. But the government bears responsibility too, as it failed to protect U.S. waters and the people who depend on them. Offshore oil drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous. In order to fulfill its responsibility to protect its citizens and territory, the government must establish a permanent moratorium on offshore drilling.”
Oil spill and important bird areas (American Bird Conservancy)
Bird Group Warns that Oiled Birds Found Onshore May Be a Fraction of the Total Toll on Birds From Gulf Spill
As bird rescue groups prepare to deal with hundreds or potentially thousands of oiled birds resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, American Bird Conservancy President George Fenwick cautioned that the toll from the spill may be far greater when the unseen impacts are factored into the environmental disaster still ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »
Pelicans being treated at International Bird Rescue Research Center, Fairfield, California.
The International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, California, is one of the most experienced waterfowl rescue and oiled bird cleaning facilities in the world.
IBRRC has sent a team of their experts, led by IBRRC director Jay Holcomb, to the oil spill area in the Gulf to help set up and staff rehabilitation centers in areas of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida where the oil might come ashore.