A TIMEly Story

TIME Magazine’s Michael
Grunwald, hardly a conservative supporter, wrote an article recently called “The BP Spill: Has the Damage
Been Exaggerated?”  We know that President Obama has called the BP oil spill ‘the worst
environmental disaster America has ever faced,’ and so has just about everyone
else. Environmental groups are sounding alarms about the ‘Catastrophe Along the Gulf
Coast,’ while CBS, Fox and MSNBC slaps the ‘Disaster in the Gulf’ headline on all
their spill-related news. Even BP head-honcho Tony Hayward, after some early happy
talk, admitted the spill was an ‘environmental catastrophe.’ According to
Grunwald, “The obnoxious anti-environmentalist Rush Limbaugh has been a rare
voice arguing that the spill — he calls it ‘the leak’ — is anything less than
an ecological calamity, scoffing at the avalanche of end-is-nigh


The article continues:  “Well, the obnoxious and
anti-environmentalist Rush has a point. The Deepwater explosion was an
awful tragedy for the 11 workers who died on the rig, and it’s no leak; it’s
the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. It’s also inflicting serious economic
and psychological damage on coastal communities. … Yes, the spill killed
birds — but so far, less than 1% of the birds killed by the Exxon Valdez. Yes,
we’ve heard horror stories about oiled dolphins — but, so far, wildlife
response teams have collected only three visibly oiled carcasses of any
mammals. Yes, the spill prompted harsh restrictions on fishing and shrimping,
but so far, the region’s fish and shrimp have tested clean, and the
restrictions are gradually being lifted. And, yes, scientists have warned that
the oil could accelerate the destruction of Louisiana’s disintegrating coastal
marshes … but, so far, shorelines assessment teams have only found about 350
acres of oiled marshes, when Louisiana was already losing about 15,000 acres of
wetlands every year.” 


Marine scientist Ivor
Van Heerden (didn’t he play the Swedish chef on the Muppets?), another former LSU prof who’s working for a spill response
contractor, says ‘there’s just no data to suggest this is an environmental
disaster.  ‘I have no interest in making BP look good — I think they lied about
the size of the spill — but we’re not seeing catastrophic impacts,’ says Van
Heerden, who, like just about everyone else working in the Gulf these days, is
being paid out of BP’s spill response funds. ‘There’s a lot of hype, but no
evidence to justify it.  The
scientists I spoke with cite four basic reasons the initial eco-fears seem
overblown. First, the Deepwater Horizon oil, unlike the black glop from the
Valdez, is comparatively light and degradable, which is why the slick in the
Gulf is dissolving surprisingly rapidly now that the gusher has been


‘Second, the Gulf of
Mexico, unlike Prince William Sound, is balmy at more than 85 degrees, which
also helps bacteria break down oil. Third, heavy flows of Mississippi River
water helped keep the oil away from the coast, where it can do much more
damage. Finally, Mother Nature can be incredibly resilient.  Around Casse-tete Island in Timbalier Bay,
where new shoots of spartina grasses were sprouting in oiled marshes, and new
leaves were growing on the first black mangroves I had ever seen that were
actually black.  It comes back
fast, doesn’t it?’ Van Heerden said.” 


And USA Today has a story
by Rick Jarvis: “Missing Oil in Gulf Baffles Officials.”  ‘For more than three months, Gulf Coast
residents and federal officials have asked where the oil spill was headed and
how much damage it would deliver. 
Now, a new, equally baffling question looms: Where has the oil
gone?  The amount of surface oil
that has bubbled up from the leaking well at the site of the Deepwater Horizon
rig sinking has rapidly shrunk in size since the well was capped. … Recent
flyovers of the spill area spotted only one sizeable oil deposit in the region,
down considerably from the large pools of thick, reddish oil that washed into
Louisiana’s coastal marshes and beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. ‘What we’re
trying to figure out is: Where is all the oil at?’ said retired Coast Guard
admiral Thad Allen, the oil response’s federal overseer.  ‘There’s still a lot
of oil that’s unaccounted for.'”


Where, oh where could it
be?  Maybe it’s hiding next to the
3.6 million jobs that the president claims to have saved. 
Or maybe it’s hiding right next to all the heat that the global warming people
can’t find.  So we can’t find the
oil, we can’t find evidence of global warming, and we can’t find the three and
a half million jobs that have been saved by the “stimulus.”


Federal scientists estimate
that 126 million to 218 million gallons have spilled into the Gulf since the
start of the spill.   That’s a
lot of oil, but let’s put that in perspective.  If the Gulf of Mexico was the new Dallas Cowboy stadium and
we filled it with water, the oil spill would be the volume of two 24-ounce cans
of beer.  You aren’t gonna find any drunk fish there!

Now, about 80 million
gallons of the oil has been skimmed, burned off or captured in containment efforts
— leaving at least 40 million gallons of crude unaccounted for.” Where is
it?  “The Gulf’s searing summer
heat could also speed up the biodegradation process. Microbes have been known
to eat as much as 50% to 80% of oil patches in a few weeks during experiments.  Oil seeps from the ocean floor daily in
amounts equal to what was leaking daily from the oil rig spill.  It never makes it to the surface.  It literally is eaten alive.  Just like Mother Nature planned.


So, will BP be given its $20
billion shakedown fund back?  Will
we put our oil workers in the Gulf back to work?  Will we stop trying to destroy our domestic energy


doubt it.  That wouldn’t fit the

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