photo: Fibonacci Blue via flickr
With the news that BP has cemented the leaking well head, and word that 75% of all the oil which poured into the Gulf of Mexico either collected or somehow dispersed, you're right for starting to breath a sigh of relief.
But it occurred to me, if 25% of the oil is still in the water and in the marshes, and roughly 5 million barrels were spilled, there's still a ginormous amount of oil still out there--still approximately 1.25 million barrels of oil, about 52 million gallons. If that was the sum total of all the oil spilled the BP oil spill would still be the eighth worst oil spill in history--seventh if you don't include Saddam Hussein deliberately opening wells to slow US forces invading his country back in 1991.
So, take that sigh of relief. Phew. Now just remember that there's still large amounts of oil out there which can still cause serious environmental harm, that we really dodged a bullet in that the oil never got sucked into the Loop Current and out into the Atlantic, and that just because we've cleaned up three-quarters of the biggest oil spill in US history doesn't mean it still wasn't the biggest oil spill in US history.
This didn't need to happen--let's not let a less than apocalyptic outcome cloud obscure that.
Though I have to admit, rumors about BP and the Coast Guard essentially disappearing dead animals, floating 'death gyres' out of sight of land and all of it deliberately kept out of camera view is pretty apocalyptic.
We can do better as a nation than offshore oil drilling. We can do better than oil, period.
More on the Gulf Oil Spill:
How Many Days Until the BP Deepwater Horizon Becomes the World's Worst Oil Spill?
BP Spill the Biggest Accidental Oil Release Into Marine Waters in World History
5 Reasons You Won't See the Worst of the Gulf Oil Spill