Even if the well that is spewing crude recklessly into the Gulf of Mexico were capped tomorrow, the damage is already done. Hundreds of thousands of animals are going to die. The fishing industry will be devastated for a generation.
However, this underwater funnel of oil is not going to stop tomorrow. NBC news reports that BP suspects it may go on for months. At the current rate of 200,000 gallons a day, this catastrophe is immeasurable. No one has ever seen anything like it.
Much of what we have come to depend on the Gulf of Mexico for is not likely to recover in our lifetime.
For me, this is Obama's one black cloud on his presidency, the fact that's he's opening up the coastline to more of this shit instead of less. I can just imagine the amount of lobbying his people had to face... Must have been incredible.
We must not forget that all pipelines leak oil constantly, so there is no big dramatic 'spill' to talk about in the news, but it is a constant source of soil and vegetation contamination which adds up to huge impacts over decades of pipeline neglect. There is absolutely no incentive to maintain the pipelines as the fines are small enough that paying the fines is the cheaper option.
The entire oil industry stinks, and it would be great to put an end to complete fiasco. The Exxon Valdez spill has to this day NOT been paid for, the livelihood of the villages in that area was ruined and no compensation has been paid out, even though the court system told Exxon to pay.
There are several problems with Obama's presidency (letting authoritarian Bush-era policies and procedures stand, not siccing the DoJ on the banks and insurance companies, watering down health insurance reform before anybody challenged it, continuing to harp on about bipartisanship when the GOP's conception of bipartisanship is exactly "do it our way and we'll think about it", etc), but yeah, caving on the "drill, baby, drill" horseshit was quite disappointing.
Experts warned that the uncontrolled gusher could create a nightmare scenario if the Gulf Stream carries it toward the Atlantic.
At a news conference, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters that the most important step was to stop the flow from at least three leaks in the well, about 5,000 feet under water.
Allen’s comments came as experts said the size of the leak was growing and was perhaps three times larger than previously thought.
Oil industry experts and officials were reluctant to describe what, exactly, a worst-case scenario would look like — but if the oil gets into the Gulf Stream and is carried to the beaches of Florida, it could be an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions.
The Deepwater Horizon well is at the end of one branch of the Gulf Stream, the famed warm-water current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic. Several experts said that if the oil enters the stream, it would flow around the southern tip of Florida and up the Eastern Seaboard.
“It will be on the East Coast of Florida in almost no time,” Graber said. “I don’t think we can prevent that. It’s more of a question of when rather than if.”