+ The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may now be the largest ever to occur outside of a war zone.
+ Oil has been found in crab larvae, stoking fears among scientists that it may have entered the Gulf of Mexico’s food chain.
+ The erstwhile Hurricane Alex has continued to frustrate skimming operations.
+ Republican congressman Darrel Issa released a report claiming the administration’s “public relations campaign” is getting in the way of “actual cleanup.”
+ The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released new statistical models detailing oil spill threats. Two findings are especially interesting:
- Along U.S. Gulf of Mexico shorelines, the oil is more likely to move east than west, with the south coast of Texas showing a relatively low probability (less than 1 percent) for impact.
- Much of the west coast of Florida has a low probability (1–20 percent) for impact, but the Florida Keys, Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas have a greater probability (61–80 percent) due to the potential influence of the Loop Current.
+ Environmental groups have filed another lawsuit to protect wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. This one seeks to stop seismic surveys.
The BP drilling disaster is Exhibit A in how the Gulf of Mexico is suffering from the abuses of the oil industry, said Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network. Even as the eyes of the world are focused on this failure, Exhibit B is the continuing use of seismic surveys throughout the Gulf.
A fact sheet detailing the effects on wildlife can be found here (.pdf).
+ The House passed its first oil spill-related bill Thursday, allowing people affected by the spill to claim more damages.
The only agreement on all sides is that companies directly responsible for the Gulf spill should not be allowed to limit damages under outdated laws.
The bill would change two laws from 1920 and a third from 1851, all applying to deaths and legal liability on the high seas.
Why is the cleanup so slow? The Wall Street Journal explains and repeats that old canard about the Jones Act in the process.