I can’t even come up with a clever headline:
The estimated amount of oil leaking from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico has increased to as much as 5,000 barrels a day — five times more than what was originally believed, a Coast Guard official said.
Rear Adm. Mary Landry told reporters late Wednesday that the increased estimate is based on analysis from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“This is not an exact science when you estimate the amount of oil,” Landry said, noting there are a lot of variables in calculating the rate of the spill.
“However, NOAA is telling me now that they prefer we use the 5,000 barrels [210,000 gallons] a day as an estimate of what has actually leaked from this well and will continue to leak until BP secures the source.”
By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled 10.8 million gallons. If it takes weeks to cap this off at an estimated rate of 210 thousand gallons a day, on top of what has already spilled, we are looking at just another tremendous catastrophe.
And, of course, the poor bastards in Louisiana will be bearing the brunt of it again. It goes without saying that this will have horrifying consequences for the wildlife, fishing, and touring industries, and more than likely will devastate the ecology of the region for years to come. Unless I am mistaken, the brown pelican just came off the endangered species list, to name just one species that is probably at risk. And because of the nature of the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Delta, with all the estuaries that from above look like the earthen equivalent of a lung’s alveoli, the surface area that will be impacted by the spill is going to be extraordinarily large and remote and impossible to protect. This won’t just be a couple days of black oil on the beaches in front of Mississippi casinos that can be quickly (by comparison) attended to by concerned environmentalists and the government. This is going lay waste to a broad, broad swath of very remote areas, and there is going to be carnage and damage for decades to come.
And I’m probably understating the case.