Does it bother anyone else that the 600,000 gallons of oil BP is sucking out of the broken wellhead each day is being burned at sea?
And why are they burning the oil rather than trying to capture, save and possibly sell it? Because it is the easiest and cheapest way to get rid of it.
The risks are obvious. The burning creates toxic gases including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene, all now being added to the atmosphere, eventually to be blown inland. The long-term risks to man of all this poison being added to the atmosphere should be clear.
My friend, 66-year-old Wilma Subra – chemist and MacArthur grant genius from New Iberia, the region’s most articulate voice of protest against the physical harms of all the chemicals from the accident being added to the water and air – calls the burning horrific: “This is one of those decisions that will have negative impacts for a long time.”
For several weeks the company knew it was going to attempt to suction oil from the leak to waiting ships at the surface. I was under the now naïve assumption that they would have a conga line of tankers standing by to carry that oil to shore where it could be refined.
But no such effort is underway; instead the captured oil is being mixed with water, turned into a fine mist and “smokelessly” burned on-site. For the rest of my story go to takepart.com.