Is This BP's Mess, Or Not?
I read an article about the possible effects of the BP oil spill by Jo Borras on Gas2.org today, and I had to share. At first glance, the image in the photograph seems to be an asphalt road. It's actually a photograph of a Louisiana waterway, chock-full of dead crabs, fish, eels, stingrays, and even a dead whale.
This is a huge dead zone, and it has local government officials like parish president Billy Nungesser (R.), the man who shared these photos with the media, rightfully alarmed.
There is no proof that the dead zone was caused by the BP oil spill. However, scientists predict there will be a larger dead zone than usual this year. In the same piece, University of Michigan ecologist Donald Scavia says the BP spill could have one of two effects on the yearly dead zone: it could make it larger because microbes gobble oxygen when consuming oil, or the effect could be offset if the oil limits algae growth.
His predictions don't seem to take into account the nature of Corexit, a chemical oil dispersant used by BP to contain the oil. A Mother Jones article on Corexit shows how terribly toxic it actually could be to organisms.
So, who is right? Time and testing will tell. Borras sums it up well: "...no matter what the cause, it's Grade-A nightmare fuel — and I, for one, can't think of a more ringing endorsement for alternative fuels than photos like these."
Me either, Mr. Borras.
Image from Gas2.org