27 April, 2010

11. 5,000! 3,000.

UPDATE: NOAA just revised their figures today in light of the discovery of an additional leak. 5,000 barrels a day spilling into the Gulf, or 210,000 gallons/day. Projected to make landfall in two days, despite today's burn off efforts. This is serious.

Shrimp and crab seasons are about to open in the Gulf. It's oyster spawning season. The Mississippi delta, barrier islands and wetlands are full of birds on their northward migration. Right now the slick is about 20 miles off the Louisiana coast, but nobody really knows where all this oil will end up. There's talk if conditions were right the oil could make it as far as the Keys. Today there was talk of burning the slick, but nobody seems to be able to answer what unintended consequences that might lead to, the impact on marine life. And, just like with the recent Massey coal mine disaster, there was industry pushback on safety regulations in the months leading up to this explosion. All of this on top of the already hurting Gulf's dead zone and red tides.

The Deepwater Horizon blew just after the Obama administration announced a plan to open more of the coasts to drilling. Certain groups in this country like to chant "Drill baby! Drill!" Damn the consequences and full steam ahead and what not.

11 dead, about 1,000 barrels leaking from the sea floor every day, over 3000 km of the Gulf already tainted and threats that, if they can't figure out how to cap this leak (about a mile under water), this could be one of the worst oil spills in US history. This isn't a choice between the environment or jobs, wildlife or people. This very much about jobs and worker safety. This is very much about coastal communities, currently holding their collective breath. And, yes, it's also very much about warblers, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans, grouper, jacks, tarpon, Mahi and cobia...

Surely we can do better.