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josie's avatar

What did more harm to the Gulf. The oil leak, or the government?

Asked by josie (28695points) August 5th, 2010

The New York Times reported-“The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated—and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm”

The president called this the worst man made disaster in history.
The Times does not discuss the other disaster in the Gulf; The government’s reaction to the oil spill. The government impulsively shut down two of the Gulf’s major industries-Oil and Fishing.

The New York Times continues;
“Testing of fish has shown little cause for worry so far, and fishing grounds in the gulf are being reopened at a brisk clip. At one point the government had closed 36 percent of federal gulf waters to fishing, but that figure is now down to 24 percent and is expected to drop further in coming weeks.”

Some people may have assumed that if Gulf fishing was shut down, there must have been evidence of seafood being tainted with oil. But it turns out the current administration gave Gulf seafood the same consideration that they gave Shirley Sherrod -assume that it’s poison and ban it, without a glance at the evidence.
Now the administration is talking about lifting its moratorium on offshore oil drilling. But at one time they were so committed to the ban that they defied a judge’s ruling that it was “arbitrary and capricious.”
So which one is worse?

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

The oil spill without doubt.

Shutting down fishing until all of the testing could be completed makes complete sense.

They still do not know what, if any, long-term effects that use of the dispersant will have.

I would love to see a permanent moratorium on deep-water drilling.

I think the government acted as best it could while the crisis was developing without having full knowledge.

I think it is easy to second-guess after the fact. Hindsight is 20/20.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

This isn’t over. The NYT, in their naivete, have addressed only the surface oil. Time will tell. And it certainly isn’t over for the coastal denizens of the Louisiana, Mississppi, Alabama and Florida beaches. Last week I sailed from Ft. Walton Beach to St.Petersburg. The formerly pristine beaches of the Panhandle are still a mess and there are huge, thick patches of tar in many lagoons and estuaries west of St. Marks. There were no signs of cleanup crews outside of populated areas. We saw 3 dead loggerheads and a pod of slow-moving, sickly dolphins swimming on their sides on the surface east of FWB. The media has moved on, but the disaster is still with us and will be for some time.

kevbo's avatar

The 25% of oil that remains after the efforts to burn, skim, and capture alone is 5 times the amount of the Valdez spill.

But, according to this article, we can all go back to our NASCAR and look forward to a bumper crop of shrimp next season.

I suppose the only people who can answer this question are the ones who know what effect Corexit has on the environment.

jazmina88's avatar

The oil is the monster, for sure. banning drilling now is like starting the war on terrorism after 9–11, the damage is done. Now is time for tightening diligence. In both arenas.

I’m sick to hear of sickly dolphins. The gulf of mexico is huge….....25% of huge is a big problem still.

it is not over, there will be environmental effects for the rest of time. I think if they open up fishing, that it may not be safe, that is a false and unsafe territory which could cause huge health risk for the general population, but allow the fishermen to work. Nobody should eat that seafood.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Concerning the damage done by the government through their inaction:

If the timidity exhibited by our government in taking control of this situation from the bumbling, unprepared, greedy scum at BP doesn’t convince the American citizenry that corporations have become more powerful than our supposed democratic republic, then nothing will.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Definitely the oil leak. However, the government contributed to the problem by not insisting on safety precautions being used (just like the government contributed to the financial disaster by not insisting that the agencies >who were supposed to keep watch over wall-street< actually do their job).

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

The government. We still don’t know what the hell is really happening. It’s like smoke and mirrors and the people of the Gulf deserve answers.

The word today is that…“there seems to be very little oil now…” uh…what?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Matt Simmons is the guy on the right in the video below. He has an investment firm that specializes in oil exploration and speculation and he is considered the pre-eminent investment banker in this field. He started out as a young oil rig worker (He is considered a loose canon in the industry for his theories on Peak Oil, but he makes more money than Warren Buffet). Here he is saying that there is another, much larger leak that BP is ignoring. This is on Day 37.

This is an interview with Matt Simmons on July 21st, around Day 60. He is much more emphatic about the mistakes made by BP, a government cover up and the real damage to the Gulf.

Huffington Post, August 9th, 2010: Matt Simmons Found Dead.

The Guardian (UK), August 19th. 2010: NOAA Scientist Admits Lying About Success of Cleanup and the Extent of Damage to the Gulf:

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