Friday, July 23, 2010

Foul Weather, Fair Result for Gulf?

The latest concern over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is that Tropical Storm Bonnie, currently near the Bahamas, could approach. It is already making BP nervous and cautious.
"The work on permanently stopping the oil will be delayed," the BBC reported Friday. "But vessels were being positioned in a way that would allow crews 'to promptly re-start oil mitigation efforts as soon as the storm passes', (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal) added."
This is probably the last thing BP wants to hear after eight days of successfully capping the oil well that started this disaster over three months ago. But if history is any guide, Bonnie might actually be a boon for the oil spill.
In 1979, National Geographic noted, "winds from Hurricane Henri scoured clean most of the Mexican beaches stained by the Gulf of Mexico's Ixtoc oil spill." (What the magazine did not mention was that the Ixtoc spill, and not the BP one, is arguably the biggest ever in the Gulf.) Perhaps a tropical storm could have a similarly beneficial effect.
The magazine cautioned that storms have negative effects on oil spill cleanup efforts, too, such as pushing oil inland, where it can contaminate wildlife habitats like marshes.
Still, maybe "My Bonnie Lies Over the Oil Spill" could ultimately be a happy tune for BP.

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