When, on August 4th, President Obama’s chief environmental adviser Carol Browner put the White House stamp of approval on stats claiming “74 percent of the oil spilled into the Gulf” had already been cleaned up, captured, burned, dispersed, evaporated, degraded or dissolved in the water … most of the people I know living along the coastline of Louisiana rolled their collective eyes.
Mike Roberts, a shrimper who lives on Barataria Bay – the hard-hit marshlands leading to the Gulf – said, “they obviously haven’t been to my backyard recently, which is still caked with oil.”
His wife Tracy Kuhns, Louisiana Bayoukeeper and director of the local family fishermen’s association, has been outspoken about BP and the government’s math since the gushing began. “They haven’t gotten it right from the very beginning when they told us only a few hundred rather than a few thousand barrels were leaking a day … why should we trust them now?”
On the other side of the estuary, P.J. Hahn, a Republican politician whose job it is to look after the future of the coastline of Plaquemines Parish and has been out on the water virtually every day since the gusher first began, said of the federal government numbers “they sound just too good to be true.”
One thing those “too good to be true” stats helped produce were some very optimistic news reports. “Sunshine is evaporating the oil, and bacteria are rapidly digesting it,” reported Bloomberg Businessweek.
“In a year or two we can forget this ever happened,” Roger Sassen, an adjunct professor of geology and geophysics at Texas A&M, told Bloomberg. “The fact that the Mississippi is the drainage ditch for the fertilizers and nasty agricultural chemicals of the entire central U.S. is much worse than this transient spill.”
(For the rest of my dispatch go to takepart.com)