Remember that little “oops” of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico over the summer? That wee little incident that BP and the U.S. government kept insisting wasn’t as bad as we all knew it was? The one they assured us was all better now?
Of course we didn’t believe the whole mess was cleaned up. We didn’t believe all that oil just magically disappeared shortly after the gushing well was capped. And now we know we were right.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune is reporting large mats and ribbons of oil have been found in Louisiana’s West Bay area and while many officials insist there’s no significant oil left, pictures don’t lie.
Scientists are still trying to figure out what caused the oil to appear, or reappear, where it hadn’t been seen before. Some theorize the dispersed oil on the ocean floor re-coagulated into mats and became buoyant.
Meantime, wildlife officials are wringing their hands again. When the oil first started flowing last spring, it was a threat to nesting shore birds. Now it could threaten hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese that winter in the Louisiana marshlands, some of which have already arrived.
There’s no reason to be optimistic about a quick end to this ongoing ecological disaster, despite all the assurances from officials. The aftereffects of the Exxon Valdez spill, which occurred in 1989 and was not as large as this one, still linger in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.
Detail from photo by Matthew Hinton, Times-Picayune