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.
"A boat carrying a 100-ton concrete-and-steel contraption designed to siphon off the oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico arrived Thursday at the spot in the sea where a blown-out well is spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons a day. "
Workers hope the dome will siphon off 85 percent of the leak while permanent measures are enacted.
May 09, 2010 — An effort to use a 100-ton steel-and-concrete box to cover a deepwater oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was aborted Saturday after ice crystals encased the containment device. Meanwhile, thick blobs of tar began washing up on Alabama's beaches
Crews in the Gulf of Mexico are reevaluating plans to use a 100-ton steel-and-concrete dome to contain oil gushing from a blown-out well on the seafloor after gas hydrates — a slushy mix of water crystals and gas — plugged a hole in the top of the experimental device.
The buildup made the white dome too buoyant and clogged it up, BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said.
Furballs to the Rescue Your dog’s hair can help clean up the Gulf oil spill
Every day news of the expanding oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico gets worse. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil gush into bio-rich waters. Looking at satellite images and reading the stories, it’s easy to feel helpless. But there is a unique opportunity for pet owners to help out. The nonprofit charity Matter of Trust is facilitating donations of clean pet fur, mostly from groomers—as well as human hair, mostly from salons—which are woven into hair mats that are extremely effective at soaking up oil or stuffed into donated nylons to create oil containment booms for the Gulf clean up. Matter of Trust estimates that one pound of dog hair can soak up one quart of oil in one minute! I have a new respect for my dogs' furballs.
We learned about this ingenious reuse program from two participants: Pet Paradise Resort, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based pet boarding, daycare and grooming operation, with 13 locations including several along the Gulf Coast; and Camp Bow Wow, a boarding and daycare operation with more than 200 franchisees in the U.S. and Canada. Both organizations are collecting and donating hair and fur to the effort, which won’t end with this spill. There are an estimated 2,600 oil spills each year.
YOUNG: From the Jennifer and Ted Stanley Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts - this is Living on Earth. I'm Jeff Young.
Federal officials say it's an all hands on deck, 24/7 effort against the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. But one of the main tools to minimize the oil's impact raises its own set of problems. Some 400 thousand gallons of chemical dispersants have been sprayed on the surface and injected deep in the sea to speed breakdown of the oil. In a press teleconference EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said those dispersants have their own drawbacks and scientists aren't sure how they might affect marine life.
JACKSON: Dispersants are not the silver bullet. They are used to move us toward the lesser of two difficult environmental outcomes.
YOUNG: A 2005 report from the National Academy of Sciences concluded, "In many instances the understanding of key processes is inadequate to confidently support a decision to apply dispersants." We contacted Dr. Nancy Kinner for more on this. She directs the University of New Hampshire's Coastal Response Research Center; it's a clearinghouse for information on oil-spill response.