Scientists and other experts who study such things seem to be in general agreement: The oil pouring from the ruptured wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast and a mile below the surface has now produced the largest oil spill in U. S. history, overshadowing the 10.8 million gallon Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989.
The BP spill, of course, is still flowing, even while British Petroleum is trying to cap the leak by filling it with heavy mud. It’s hard for me to imagine such a thing working but I’m not an engineer. I hope it works.
Meanwhile, the growing scope of the disaster can somewhat be measured by presidential attention. President Obama has been to Louisiana twice since the March 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, including a visit Friday. The president is no doubt sincere in his words and efforts but he must be a bit concerned about the potential political fallout from millions of gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf and soiling marshes, harming wildlife, turning miles of the sea into a slimy mess . . . and killing businesses.
I recently spoke with a charter captain who works out of Venice, La., and Bay St. Louis, Miss. He’s one of the lucky ones. No, he isn’t fishing (he’s out of the fishing business) but he has been able to stay in business by housing and feeding Coast Guard personnel and clean up workers.
Most people aren’t so fortunate. Folks along the coast are angry – and with good reason. All Americans should be outraged.