Congratulations to BP (sorry, British Petroleum) for apparently plugging the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the 85 days of the leak, the worst oil disaster in history, nearly 184m gallons of crude oil is estimated to have gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, the ninth largest body of water in the world […]
The oil that gushed also added to natural oil and gas leaks into Gulf waters. These occur all the time from the sea bed, and the US Department of Energy estimates that there may be 5,000 active “seeps” in the northern Gulf alone. One researcher calculated in 2000 that 500,000 barrels of oil – 84m gallons – naturally gets into the Gulf each year, but is never cleaned up.
So the Deepwater rig leaked around twice as much oil into the gulf as leaks anyway into the Gulf from natural seeps each year. Just twice as much.
Those who reacted to the spill as if their hair’s on fire, predicting ecological doom from the worst spill evah(!) may have had a point if (say) 20 or 50 times the amount of oil which leaks naturally into the Gulf each year had, instead, whooshed out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Since just twice that amount has leaked it’ll mainly go the same way. That is, it’ll be diluted away, some chemicals will evaporate away, some will fall to the seabed, that which is washed ashore will be broken down by bacteria but, in the end, it’ll go.
Sure, some livelihoods and animal life are affected and BP British Petroleum should and is paying the cost. But as for the damage, well, as some did point out, Mother Nature will soon take back her organic juice and leave no trace.