By now, most everyone knows about the unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and that it landed in New Orleans last Friday morning. Already, animal rescue groups are on the scene — much faster than Federal responses. But what IS the Federal response? Their first actual step was to put down some 600,000 feet of floating barrier, in attempts to contain the oil, slow it’s reaching land, while they sprayed “dispersal” chemicals on the oily surface of the Gulf. Now they’re talking about releasing another kind of dispersal chemical underwater — one that would somehow stop the oil from rising to the surface in the first place. Before any chemicals were sprayed or introduced, some long, hard looks at their impact are in order.
If it’s a solvent, obviously that’s a No. If it’s a bacterial agent designed to eat the oil, that too has real concerns. No matter what it is, it’s certain to have an impact. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and the chemicals/agents themselves are a foreign and harmful substance. If it’s biological, it will still upset the balances. What to do, then? [Read more...]