The Washington Post is featuring a story on the potential long term impacts of the BP oil spill, looking to the largest rig spill ever, the 1979 Ixtoc I blowout in the Southern Gulf of Mexico, for guidance.
Even though Ixtoc I sat in 150 feet of water, rather than 5000 like Deepwater Horizon, operators had the same problems plugging the leak, with caps, mud, and junk shots all failing. A relief well finally stopped the oil 290 days later.
If BP manages to plug Deepwater Horizon by August, that will be dramatically faster than Ixtoc I, but the spill may be even worse. Makes the claims that we’ve come a long way in oil rig technology and that “modern oil drilling” is clean and safe ring hollow, no?
The continued news from the Gulf has left sympathizers all over feeling angry and helpless. Several organizations working in the Gulf have offered would-be activists a channel for their energies. One such group is Environment America.
This week, they launched Gumbo for the Gulf. Participants will host fundraising houseparties throughout the week of June 14th to draw attention to the plight of communities, fishermen, and wildlife affected by the disaster and provide relief funds and resources to advocate for policies to prevent future disasters.
The Gulf spill has become largest spill in U.S. history, with at least 18 million gallons of oil released into the ocean so far. As the 2010 shrimping season opens, boats sit idle and entire communities worry for their future. The toll on wildlife an the environment is only just beginning to become apparent and BP estimates oil will continue leaking into the Gulf of Mexico until August.
Find out more and how to sign up to host a Gumbo for the Gulf event.
Photo from the The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) flicker page via Creative Commons License.
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