Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Although the Gulf of Mexico has to not only fear of hurricanes, but it also has to anticipate an unexpected arrival of oil that has traveled from a leaky oil pipe 50 miles southeast of Venice Louisiana. Not only has this oil wells' pipe explode, but its dumping 42,ooo gallons a day into the gulf. It has been said it will take another 3 days until it hits the us gulf coastline, but similar to Hurricane Katrina it can't be predicted to where it will hit first. Considering the amount of ecologically fragile coastline in Louisiana (40% of nations wetlands), coast guard officials are anticipating a "controlled burn" of the petroleum on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. These burnings have been administered before, and have resulted in a burning of 50-95% of oil collected in a fire boom... so coast guards don't forget your weenies! Although it can cause a major pollution to the air in the area, however it could outweigh the side effects of having the oil come into contact to the coast and cause long term problems for the area. The well has constructed an emergency device known as a blowout preventer, which stops oil flow in an emergency, however its only a short term solution for capping the well. So far, the cleanup has amounted to $6 million a day, and the company has been pressured to find other solutions to clean up their mess. However, there have been a plan to use a type of tent or dome to collect the oil, but it will take another 3-4 weeks to become operational (lets just hope the oil company doesn't runout of money before then). Also, because of the leak, the company will immediately begin a project to seal the well, and begin to drill at another spot to collect the remaining oil. Ultimately, companies and citizens will have to factor in that animals would be more likely to survive a giant bloom of smoke more than any oil slick; however it will be only a matter of time until gov't organizations are really pressed to make the right decision.

1 comment:

  1. I read in an article that much of the reason for the burn comes from an economic standpoint. By burning it, we will save billions in cleanup on the shores. I think this oil spill has greater significance than the immediate environmental damage it will cause. As Obama has just pushed for off-shore oil exploration, this event will have a serious effect on public opinion, and could shoot down plans for off-shore drilling expansion. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks....


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