26%? That Doesn't Sound Too Bad! Behind the Oil Budget

The nation needs to remain concerned about the bp drillling disaster.  Despite a clear interest by BP and the federal government to hang up a 'mission accomplished' banner and move on, there's far more still to do:
  • Even if you believe the optimistic government oil budget that says only 26% of the oil remains intact in the Gulf, that's still over 53 million gallons of oil, or almost 5 Exxon Valdez equivalents.
  • The government also counts 24% as dispersed, but dispersed oil is still out there, it's just below the surface, in the water column, and having an impact on the Gulf. Specifically, it's affecting the eggs, larvae and zooplankton that make up the building blocks of marine life out there.  This enormous science experiment is just beginning and the nearly 2 million gallons of dispersant mixed with 206 million gallons of oil are going to have a significant impact on the Gulf, we just don't know how bad.  Here's a GRN blog on that. 
  • The coast guard and BP say they can't find the oil, but we see significant amounts of skim-able oil every time we fly over the coast.  BP talks about having 50 planes mobilized every day, but GRN only goes out once a week.  Is BP flying at night? Here's what we've seen recently. 
  • As the state rushes to open commercial fishing grounds, BP is rushing to downsize its locally hired work force.  But if the shrimpers can't fish because the oil on the bottoms, the key shrimping grounds, or because no one's buying the product because of health concerns, there's really no work left for these coastal communities.
It is critical the nation continue to demand that BP works to clean up the Gulf, and give coastal communities the resources they need to fight for their future.  Nationally, we need to create a clean energy future and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
Here's a fantastic article in Mother Jones that does a good job pointing out marine impact concerns. 
Aaron Viles is the Campaign Director of the Gulf Restoration Network, a 16 year old environmental advocacy organization exclusively focused on the health of the Gulf of Mexico.  Aaron is also an advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund, a grant-making institution that supports progressive movement building in the Gulf Coast region.