Damage Assessment On Gulf Oil Spill Spurs Scientists To Debate

Oil spill in Gulf of MexicoThe White House has recently released their damage assessment on the oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico and the contents of which have prompted several scientists to a war of words with each other. According to the report, about 4.9 million barrels of oil that have seeped out into the gulf could be accounted for.

The White House also said that damage projections may be less than what was initially anticipated. Several reasons that are presented by the White House experts say that the barrels of oil were in a highly diluted form and that most of the oil has disintegrated by natural means.

Several residents near the Gulf area are not quite happy with such assessment. They have been pointing at beaches and marshes damaged by the oil spill, as well as dead birds and marine life that are washed into the shores. The residents themselves are still recovering from the collapse of the fishing and tourism industries and have viewed the White House damage report as indicative that the Obama Administration is planning to abandon the residents.

Some marine life experts and oil research scientists have also voiced their contradictions to the findings presented by the White House. Quite a few has labeled the report as sloppy and some called it premature. Most have agreed that an extensive research is needed to fully get on how big the damage is.

Samantha Joye, a marine scientist at the University of Georgia, said that “If an academic scientist put something like this out there, it would get torpedoed into a billion pieces.”

Joye continued to blast the report, stating that “a lot of this is based on modeling and extrapolation and very generous assumptions.”

While many have disagreed with the White House’s findings, a considerable number of scientists also found the report plausible.

Jeffrey W. Short, a previous federal scientist who headed crucial studies after the Exxon Valdez disaster and is now connected with Oceana, an environmental advocacy group, told the press that the reports and their estimates “may not be far off.”

The report has stated that of all the oil that spilled into the gulf, roughly about 4.9 million barrels of oil, only 26% remains unaccounted. That is 53 million gallons.

Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society, summed it best.

“One way of looking at it is to say that 26 percent of the world’s largest oil spill is still out there. And that is a lot of oil.”

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