Friday, April 30, 2010

210,000 Gallons of Oil a Day Spewing into Gulf, and it can get Worse?

The words "Drill, baby, drill" and the cries of opposition to a wind farm off the New England coast are still ringing in our ears as we watch the frantic efforts to control an oil slick come ashore in the Gulf of Mexico.

With the spewing 210,000 gallons of crude oil a day from an underground BP oil well from at least 3 leaks into the gulf, the worst U.S. environmental disaster t began with the tragic explosion of an oil rig that claimed 11 lives.

News about the disaster just keeps getting worse. Now we learn that there are fears that main pipelines in the actual well itself might give, resulting in what amounts to an open oil well gushing into the fragile waters of the gulf.

Rupture of the pipe is the worst case scenario as of this writing, but before the catastrophe, the possibility of an explosion and resulting spill of this magnitude was considered remote.

Weather this weekend may interfere with the efforts to skim the oil and move it away from the main area of the spill to burn it off. Heavy winds and high tides will also serve to drive the oil toward the coastal marshlands.

It's impossible to forecast the danger the spill will have on the environment because no one knows how big the spill will get, how the leaks can be stopped, or how and where most of the oil will come ashore.

Once the oil comes ashore, the most immediate impact to wildlife will be the birds. Reproductive failure and possible death to large numbers of birds is expected. Fisheries will also be greatly impacted, as the oil moves into coastal marshes and inshore ecosystem. Oyster beds, fish nurseries and shrimp populations could be devastated. The long lasting economic impact from this environmental disaster cannot yet be calculated.

Yet, people can still cry foul that a wind farm is ugly.

photo under morgueFile free license

Have you considered how this BP oil rig disaster will affect you? Please comment.