BP oil spill: clean-up crews are having a difficult time finding crude oil

When the BP oil spill hit headlines, I was involved in a family discussion about the event.

“It seems to me that oil is a natural product,” I said, “and it may be cleaned up naturally.” One of the people at the table rightly pointed out that I received my information from Rush Limbaugh. This person said this in a snarky manner that suggested that no one should take Limbaugh as a serious news source. When I added to the theory that I thought we should do everything we can to assist Mother Nature in the clean-up and with manpower combined with the power of Mother Nature, we should be able to clean this thing up.

“In a hundred years,” this guy responded, “and it’s even a maybe at that.” At the time, as the ABC News story below points out, the oil spill was “the size of Kansas.”


The oil spill was getting bigger by the moment. We all remember that point in time. It appeared as though the theory that Mother Nature would be able to clean herself up, even with man’s assistance, was a shaky one. It was, what many were calling the greatest ecological disaster of all time. ABC News now states that what was once a catastrophe the size of Kansas, appears to be the size of New Hampshire. “It has been rapidly shrinking.”

Why? “[It’s] Mother Nature doing her job,” said Ed Overton, a professor of environmental studies at Louisiana State University.

“The numbers don’t lie,” says the ABC News report, “two weeks ago, skimmers picked up about 25,000 barrels of oily water. Last Thursday, they gathered just 200 barrels.

“Still, it doesn’t mean that all the oil that gushed for weeks is gone. Thousands of small oil patches remain below the surface, but experts say an astonishing amount has disappeared, reabsorbed into the environment.”

Some remain unimpressed: “That oil is somewhere. It didn’t just disappear,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

“Salvador Cepriano is one of the men searching for crude. Cepriano, a shrimper, has been laying out boom with his boat, but he’s found that there’s no oil to catch.

“I think it is underneath the water. It’s in between the bottom and the top of the water,” Cepriano said.

“Even the federal government admits that locating the oil has become a problem.

“It is becoming a very elusive bunch of oil for us to find,” said National Incident Commander Thad Allen.

“The light crude began to deteriorate the moment it escaped at high pressure, and then it was zapped with dispersants to speed the process along. The oil that did make it to the ocean’s surface was broken up by 88-degree water, baked by 100-degree sun, eaten by microbes, and whipped apart by wind and waves.

“Experts stress that even though there’s less and less oil as time goes on, there’s still plenty around the spill site. And in the long term, no one knows what the impact of those hundreds of millions of gallons will be, deep in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.”

In the argument, I never intended to say that Mother Nature shouldn’t be assisted in every way possible, but I said that due to the fact that oil was a natural product of the Earth, she should be able to clean up herself with man’s assistance.

I was overwhelmed, at the time, and I wasn’t in my environment. The other person had home field advantage on me. I had no one on my side. I was being shouted down by the throng of players around me, and all I had was a theory. I believed that theory, but at the time it appeared that the theory didn’t have much weight against the growing catastrophe. I wish this story could provide me some vindication, but I didn’t stick to my guns well enough at the time. I was overwhelmed.


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