USA Today has an animated map that helps put the oil spill into perspective. I’ve been imagining this as a drifting blob. The map helps you see that it is spreading more than drifting. Usually, you want to calm your fears by “putting them into perspective.” I’m sorry this doesn’t do that. I’m sorry that’s not what I meant.
The USA Today map also shows the locations of the booms. I found that interesting. It helped me understand the comments made a few days ago by a Gulfport councilman that Mississippi and Gulfport in particular were being sacrificed as the booms helped steer the oil away from Louisiana wetlands. My first reaction to that was to feel defensive on behalf of my state. I even felt justified in this when I heard on the local news that there were no booms at Gulfport at a time when predictions had oil coming straight toward the Mississippi Coast within the next day or so.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. The weather, currents, and all of the other factors involved just aren’t as predictable as we like to think. But look at those booms on the map. They’re actually pretty scarce when looking at the ocean as a whole. They are set up around federal wildlife reserves and other highly sensitive areas. They aren’t nearly prevalent enough to actually guide the oil to any particular place, though. It’s going to go where it goes. The Coast Guard, no matter how hard at work, has very little influence.
Meanwhile, everyone is squawking about what’s what. Some say this is doomsday. Some say it’s not so bad. In truth, it is that bad. It is that big. But maybe we aren’t completely without hope of containing it.
On that note, I found two real significant pieces of information today. One, BP is going ahead with the long range plan of drilling a relief well to try to divert the flow from the one that is leaking. This could take up to 90 days to complete. That’s depressing. We can’t afford 90 more days of oil pumping into the Gulf at the current rate. I don’t even want to imagine. This is only one part of the plan, though. Let’s hope some of the more temporary measures work to bandage it up in the meantime, and let’s at least be grateful we do have a long range plan.
Next, they are trying to clean up some of the oil on the water by doing controlled burns. Maybe other people already knew about this, but I just heard about it today. Bad for the air, but good for the fish, except for the ones that get fried, of course. I don’t know whether controlled burns are good or bad, but at least they are trying something. It makes me feel better to know that they are attempting to reduce the amount of oil floating around out there.
I’ll try to remember it made me feel better when the black clouds start hovering over my house.