Oil in Gulf 'biodegrading'
Oil from the BP blowout is degrading rapidly in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and becoming increasingly difficult to find on the water surface, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.This sounds like good news for the Gulf and the coastal states. It also appears that the Henny Penny reaction to the spill was overstated. It also appears that the administration's reaction to the spill has gone too far. They need to lift the moratorium immediately.
"The light crude oil is biodegrading quickly," NOAA director Jane Lubchenco said during the response team daily briefing. "Significant oil has been dispersed and broken down by bacteria."
Lubchenco said, however, that both the near- and long-term environmental effects of the release of several million barrels of oil remain serious and to some extent unpredictable.
"The sheer volume of oil that's out there has to mean there are some pretty significant impacts," she said. "What we have yet to determine is the full impact the oil will have not just on the shoreline, not just on wildlife, but beneath the surface."
But much of the oil appears to have been broken down into tiny, microscopic particles that are being consumed by bacteria. Little or none of the oil is on seafloor, she said, but is instead floating in the gulf waters.
Her conclusions come from the work of several NOAA boats now collecting water samples, as well as the analysis of academics brought in to help study the spill effects. The goal, she said, is to get a scientifically sound assessment of the overall environmental effects of the spill. "We're close to being able to put together a comprehensive picture of what is still out there -- how much has been removed by skimmers and burned off and how much remains," she said. "We're getting close to an answer."