May 24, 2010
Initially, BP reported a 1,000 barrels per day leak, then 5,000 after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) estimate, while independent analysis of company supplied video and satellite imagery suggest somewhere between 50 – 100,000 barrels, the consensus settling on 70,000 or an Exxon Valdez equivalent every 3.5 days – by far, America’s greatest ever environmental disaster, and growing worse daily.
The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science’s satellite imagery analysis reported on May 18 that the spill covers 7,500 square miles, or about the size of New Jersey. Other accounts say 10,000 square miles or a Maryland equivalent. Either way, it’s huge and an ecological disaster of historic proportions.
New video footage “indicates that around 95,000 barrels, or 4 million gallons, a day of crude oil may be spewing from the leaking wellhead,” according to Purdue University’s Professor Steve Wereley’s May 19 testimony to the House Commerce and Energy Committee. He based his calculation on BP video, saying the spill could be from 76,000 – 104,000 barrels daily, but wants more footage over a longer period for a more precise calculation, what BP hasn’t released up to now and won’t, absent Interior Department pressure to do it.
Yet if the wellhead fails completely, these figures potentially could double, begging the question about how long Washington, BP, and the major media can deny the peril, pretending it’s minor.
Oil also now affects the South Pass Mississippi River entrance, the Mississippi delta, Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island, Alabama, Whiskey Island on the Chandeleur Islands south end, the protected bird breeding sanctuary Raccoon Island, and the Loop Current, a powerful clockwise conveyor belt heading it toward Florida, up the East Coast, and into the Atlantic, threatening Western Europe and perhaps West Africa. The potential devastation is incalculable but at minimum will be huge.
According to European Space Agency satellite images, visible proof shows its position, suggesting it’ll reach the Keys around May 25, America’s only living coral barrier reef – the world’s third most productive marine ecosystem with its patch and bank reefs, seagrass meadows, soft and hard bottom communities, and coastal mangroves.
Casey Kazan via:
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