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A new study that was published last week in Science Advances, says that satellites were not able to fully detect oil in large areas of the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, and posits that “invisible and toxic oil” made the spill as much as 30% larger than some experts have estimated.
Why This Matters: Underestimating the amount of oil that escaped during the worst oil spill in US history and where it went is a big deal — it means perhaps BP should have paid even more in civil fines and penalties, and it means that all our best technology and brainpower did not see the error in real-time.
The “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico in 2019 extended nearly 6000 square miles across — it’s caused by fertilizers and other nutrients coming via the Mississippi River from as far as Minnesota and Iowa and it’s an even bigger threat to ocean biodiversity and Louisiana’s $2 billion seafood industry than oil and gas spills, and it’s even harder to fix.
Why This Matters: Politicians are gathered in Iowa for this week’s caucuses and they are getting an earful about the devastating floods last year. Iowa farmers are not the only small “farmers” who took a beating from the floods — so did fishermen more than a thousand miles away in Louisiana, and they can scarcely afford the blow.
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