Oil-leak reaching ‘worst-case’ status

Published 6:39 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Thick, brown globs of oil washed up on a public beach in Louisiana on Friday, as the month-long oil well leak in the Gulf of Mexico shifted into “worst-case scenario” mode.

The blown-out Deepwater Horizon well has been spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for a month now, despite repeated efforts by BP to plug the leak.

Scientists, environmentalists, fishermen, government leaders, and anyone who loves the Gulf and the coastline have expressed repeated fears that the leaking oil will wreak environmental havoc on the water and the rich ecological marshlands and wetlands.

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Across the Gulf, reports of injured animals are increasing every day. New fears about the chemical dispersants being used to try and diffuse the oil are mounting. And, despite a stopper-and-tube combination designed to siphon off the spewing oil, BP officials are no closer to stopping the oil then they were a month ago.

Now, scientists are starting to doubt original estimates of the volume of oil spewing into the Gulf, saying at least 6 million gallons have spilled to date – and the well could be pumping as much as much as 840,000 gallons a day.

At stake here is the future of the Gulf of Mexico, its wetlands, its marine wildlife and its way of life.

To date, that concerns doesn’t seem to have raised much ire from President Obama or Washington officials, who have shown a lacking sense of urgency in responding to this crisis. Where are the nation’s best scientific minds in solving this problem? Where is the government leadership and aid? Where is the president’s voice, his presence?

As each hour, each day passes the damage increases exponentially. And like the beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, we’re only beginning to see the ugly mess that will be left behind.