A NOAA report released today claims much of the oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Macondo well has evaporated, been burned, skimmed, or recovered, or has degraded or dispersed. But the report is silent on the long-term effects of carcinogens and toxins that remain in the environment after oil is degraded, burned and dispersed.
Here’s a statement from Defenders of Wildlife chief scientist Dr. Christopher Haney. Dr. Haney served on the core science team that helped document impacts from and oversaw restoration of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and is currently coordinating the seabird surveys that are being carried out through NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The conclusions of this report are troubling in many ways. Based on these estimates, up to 75 percent of the oil from BP’s Gulf oil disaster still remains in the Gulf environment. Terms such as “dispersed,” “dissolved” and “residual” do not mean gone. That’s comparable to saying the sugar dissolved in my coffee is no longer there because I can’t see it. By Director Lubchenco’s own acknowledgement, the oil which is out of sight is not benign. Whether buried under beaches or settling on the ocean floor, residues from the spill will remain toxic for decades.
“The Gulf oil catastrophe is the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history and its full effects will not be known for years. While oil may no longer be flowing from the wellhead, this disaster is still playing havoc with the environment. We will need to be committed to addressing its impacts for decades to come. Americans must keep this damage in mind and insist on continued accountability on the part BP, the administration and Congress to ensure restoration efforts do not falter.”
Defenders of Wildlife is urging the Obama administration to continue aggressive efforts to monitor and address impacts of oil and toxic dispersants on wildlife and habitat in Gulf region.