Monday, 30 August 2010

Nobel Prize winner, Barack Obama defends environmentally shameful oil policies

Article by Marc Aupiais

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Speaking to NBC Nightly News, in the occasion of a speech he gave to New Orleans, commemorating the disastrous response of George W. Bush to the Katrina hurricane disaster, Barack Obama took the opportunity, to justify his response to the Oil leak, noting: that the burning of oil, etc had prevented it from coming ashore, and fully defending his and BP's response.

According to British service Reuters, and those concerned with oceanography:

"The Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska in 1989 spilled around 10 million gallons.

Simon Boxall, an expert at Britain's National Oceanography Center who has helped analyze various major oil spill cleanups, said several detailed experiments had been conducted since the Exxon Valdez spill, looking at areas that were left alone, as well as at areas cleaned up chemically or mechanically.

"The chemically cleaned up areas have taken the longest to recover and they are still damaged," Boxall said. "The areas that were left alone actually recovered much quicker."

Some 10,000 people were flown in to deal with the Exxon Valdez spill, and Boxall said scientists now wondered whether the "cleanup town" that grew up around it caused more environmental damage than the oil itself.

Christoph Gertler of Bangor University, who has been studying various potential bacterial remedies for oil spills, said reports by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggested that dispersants were "changing the nature of the oil in a very unfavorable way," making it more difficult for naturally occurring marine bacteria to break it down.

Boxall said it was important to remember that oil coming from the BP well was a light crude that would break down and evaporate fairly quickly when it came to the surface.

He said there were three golden rules of oil spills:

"The first is don't spill it in the first place: the second is, if you do spill it, try and pick it up as quickly and easily as possible," he said. "And the third is that in the open ocean, the best thing to do is leave well alone. Unfortunately, politically that always looks like a cop-out."

Scientists agreed that the wetlands of Louisiana were the most sensitive areas at risk, but said that here again a light touch might be the safest solution.

"The more delicate an area is -- and many of these areas around the Gulf coast are very delicate -- the more significant is the risk of making things worse by acting," said Preston. "A rather gung-ho attitude to the cleanup could end up doing more damage than if it had simply been left alone.""
Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent of Reuters (British Based; Independent of the government; Secular/general interests coverage) Editing by Maggie Fox and Tim Pearce of the same service
28 / 06 | June / 2010

Obama shelved regulations which would have insured stricter control of drilling. BP, was not itself responsible for the oil spill, although legally it likely is, rather, a foreign firm it sublet to was the one which was in control of the vessel at the time of the disaster. The US president then attempted seemingly unsuccessfully for a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, despite the local economy being reliant on the oil industry, the other major industry of fishing, having been destroyed by the oil spill and human interventions.

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