This is the beginning of a wide scale environmental catastrophe. This is a total kill scenario impacting the area in a number of disastrous ways. Prior to the building of the MRGO Canal (and subsequent filling of it due to it’s role in the post Katrina collapse of the levies) the marshland to the south of New Orleans protected the coast from storms, buffering the waves and flooding. If the oil kills off the marsh, there is noting to impede that water during a storm.
Secondarily, the vast majority of the food supply for the marine environment starts right there in those coastal marshes. Many species of fish spawn there, or spend the early part of their lives protected from predators by the shallow water and reeds. Oysters, which start out as near microscopic “spats” swim in these marshes seeking tidal locations to attach themselves and grow, collecting nutrients in the currents.
The death of the marshland starts a cascade in the ocean food chain that reaches all the way up to the top.
Drill, Baby, Spill!… Indeed.
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May 20, 2010 at 4:41 PM
While watching the latest news about the BP Oil spill, a frightening thought came to mind: what if we can’t stop the oil? I mean, what happens if after all the measures to cap the pipe fail, (i.e., “Top Hat”, “Small Hat” and “Top Kill”). What then? An accident this problematic is new territory for BP. The oil pipeline is nearly a mile down on the ocean floor, accessible only by robots. Add on top of that the extreme pressure at which the oil is flowing out of the pipeline and there you have it: the perfect storm.
Moreover, scientists also claim that they’ve found an enormous plume of oil floating just under the surface of the ocean measuring approximately 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. (I’m no math genius, but I bet one of you reading this could figure out just how many barrels of oil that is…)
There are new estimates that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil a day: that’s a far cry from BP’s estimated 5,000 barrels a day. If BP’s estimates are correct, the total amount of oil now in the Gulf would be approximately 150,000 barrels (or 6,300,000 gallons). That’s barely enough to fill 286 swimming pools: sixteen feet, by thirty-two feet, by eight and a half feet deep. That wouldn’t cover an area the size of New York City, let alone an area the size of Delaware. Obviously, the spill is much larger than we are being led to believe. If the leak can’t be stopped, in a year’s time, we’ll have roughly 18,250,000 barrels of oil (or 766,500,000 gallons) in our oceans, killing our marine and animal wildlife. Such a calamity would be environmentally and economically disastrous. I’m not a religious man, but I pray that BP and our government work fast to end this catastrophe.