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May 27th Update: 'Top Kill' Attempt to Plug Oil Leak is Working, Says Coast Guard Admiral
Update: 70,000 Barrels or 5,000? What Did BP Know and When Did They Know It?
Quick Limbaugh Debunking
Some claims are so crazy that you shouldn't even have to point out why they don't make sense. But when these claims are made by people with a large number of followers ready to believe anything the guru says (such as that the Deepwater Horizon explosion could be an act of eco-terrorism; as if it's easy to get on board an oil rig in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and make it blow up without being seen by any of the 100+ people on it), they're worth a closer look. The latest outrageous claim by Rush Limbaugh is about the oil spill, and it's worth a quick debunking. Read on for the details.On top of claiming that the explosion could be eco-terrorism (without any kind of evidence), Rush Limbaugh said that the cleanup was unnecessary.:
"The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there," Limbaugh said. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is."
Natural ≠ Good
This shows a total lack of understanding, a big 'science fail', as the kids would say.
"Natural" doesn't always mean good, despite what the marketing people would like you to believe. Arsenic, lead and mercury are as natural as can be, but you wouldn't want them in your food or your living room. Well, crude oil is also natural, but it's toxic to most living organisms (exceptions are rare, mostly bacteria), and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are the living room and fridge of countless species.
These ecosystems haven't evolved in contact with oil, in the same way that most of the heavy metals found deep in the Earth's crust are toxic to us because over evolutionary time we haven't been exposed to them much. It's the same basic principle that explains why oxygen is toxic to certain microorganisms because they evolved in places where there's little or no O2.
And while the oil itself might be "natural", the spill itself certainly isn't. That oil was sequestered deep underground and has been there for millions of years. It very probably wasn't going anywhere until we drilled there. In that regard, it's 100% a human-made disaster.
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For More on the Gulf Oil Spill
BP Gulf Oil Spill Cheat Sheet: A Timeline of Unfortunate Events
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The What, When and Where ...and What You Can Do to Help
How Will the BP Oil Spill Affect Critically Endangered Bluefin Tuna?