How bad will the damage be from Gulf oil?

Truth is, no one really knows. If we still had reporters instead of journalists, they would ask questions of those who are in the know.

The impact of Deepwater Horizon will be difficult to predict because there never has been a sustained spill at such a depth. The good news is that the oil has to rise through 1500 metres of water, and is exposed to the elements for days or weeks before hitting the shore. The most toxic components – benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes – are likely to dissolve in the water column and become greatly diluted, or evaporate at the surface.

A lot depends upon the type of oil spilled – light crude vs heavy or refined.

Ultimately, the best hope of staving off the worst impacts of the spill is to keep the oil out of the coastal marshes. Plans to construct sand berms to bolster the protection by natural barrier islands may help, say research teams working in the marshes. They will have gaps to allow for tidal flows, so success may depend on the aggressive use of booms and skimmers in those gaps. “The best thing we can do is to stop the oil getting into these wetlands,” says Reed.

Yet the Jones Act (really the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) prevents bringing in the best response vessels from around the world. Can’t blame BP for that now can you Mr. President. Plus evil GW Bush suspended the act during Katrina. Will anyone point this out? Very few. Follow this search and you see why this administration doesn’t want to touch the subject – Unions and Lawyers. Of course it would be a fair bet that the majority of union workers would gladly waive the Act to preserve their favorite fishing hole. Besides, those same members could, after working with the vessels, come up with some Yankee ingenuity to build better US made vessels.

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