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Gulf Oil Spill: Dispersal Chemicals Threaten Ocean/Wetlands Ecology

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

Gulf Oil Spill: NO MORE CHEMICALS! Vacuum Is the Only REAL Solution

The Federal government has been bombarding the surface of the Gulf with chemicals only described as a dispersal agent.  What is that?  It could be a solvent, it could be something like Dawn that breaks down the oil, or it could be a bacterial agent which eats the oil, breaking it down.  Regardless of what it is, we know what it is not.  It is not safe.  Even if it were entirely bacteriological, the damage done to the balances of the ocean waters and wetlands is very likely unsustainable.  The ocean isn’t just plain water.  It is made up of about 200 different elements, each in a certain balance.  Wetlands are even more complex, and already under stress from our impact upon them.  Tossing chemicals of ANY kind at the problem is no real solution.

The problem is relatively simple: Crude oil has leaked out and is contaminating the Gulf of Mexico, so it must be removed.  Not dispersed. Not broken down into other aspects which are LESS harmful.  ANY amount of harm is devastating in this sort of scope and proportion.  It needs to be removed.  The best and simplest way to do that is to vacuum it up while it is still offshore, before it coats birds, mammals, and coastline.  It has to be sucked up, separated from the water, and hosed on over to a tanker.  Relatively simple, really. Read more