BP Oil on Gulf Floor May Threaten Marine Life

Not surprisingly, oil spilled from the explosion of the BP Macondo Well is endangering marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. The Wall Street Journal wrote that, according to a federal report, sediment from the blast remains at levels dangerous to aquatic life.

The contamination is described as “heavy” by the Journal and appears to be in a few Gulf area locations close to the well, say officials. Chemical tests prove that oil in some of the sediment originated from the Macondo well, say scientists working with federal spill-response officials, wrote the Journal.

Sadly, say officials, no realistic way exists in which to clean up this oil that is now deep in the Gulf; however, officials did say that it is possible that microbes in the water there could eat up the oil, wrote the Journal.

“We’ve reached that point of diminishing returns,” said Charlie Henry, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) involved in the report, quoted the Journal. Despite that tests confirm contamination levels that could potentially harm Gulf organisms “there’s no longer any action we can take” to clean up the oil spilled by BP that is so far from shore, said Henry.

In other areas—the expanse from Florida to Louisiana—oil patches can be seen on the water adjacent to beaches that “is from the Macondo well,” said Sam Walker, another NOAA scientist, quoted the Journal. Last week’s federal report indicates that some shoreline oil could eventually wash ashore and, say officials, workers are trying to remove oil from beaches and marshes on some coastline areas, reported the Journal.

Despite the imminent threat to marine life as a result of its catastrophic spill, BP took the news as positive. “The scientific evidence in this report is consistent with our observations that the beaches are safe, the water is safe, and the seafood is safe,” said Mike Utsler in a statement. Utsler heads up BP’s spill-response effort, said the Journal.

The company found responsible for an oil spill is mandated under federal law to pay for any damage to the environment that the government deems was caused by that spill, explained the Journal. Because of this, as research continues to link more and more environmental damage to the spill, the more money BP will be mandated to pay, added the Journal.

The environmental impact of the spill remains open, said the Journal, citing the 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants that were sprayed on the oil to break up the spill and stop it from washing ashore. Tests on some sediment found a chemical from the dispersant; however, that chemical’s impact to the environment is not known, according to the report.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in New Orleans just ordered Transocean Ltd., owner of the drilling rig that blew up as it was drilling BP’s well, to supply federal investigators with its safety records for other rigs it had positioned in the Gulf at the time of the accident, wrote the Journal.

A criminal probe of the disaster continues in what is considered to be the worst oil spill in US history. The April blast aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 men.

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