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Why This Matters: I (Monica) was involved from day one of the response to the spill and through the early restoration work for two years after it ended, and we tried mightily to minimize the damage and begin restoration immediately. The concerns being expressed now are even more disheartening given the current oil glut, which makes the rush to drill more and in riskier places even more tragic. The bright spot is that there is money for restoring the Gulf thanks to the legal settlement with BP but it won’t be enough to make it all right. And it can’t fix the problems of lax government safety oversight and mismanagement.
The Gulf Has Not Recovered
NWF highlights the plight of a few species impacted. Dolphins are still struggling — with lung disease, are underweight and anemic and even dolphins born after the spill are negatively impacted. Twenty percent of the sea turtle population was killed by the spill, and 1 million offshore birds were lost and the populations have not recovered. And, according to Ian MacDonald of Florida State, at the time of the spill there were 1500 sperm whales in the Gulf and now there are only about 750 left. These sentinel species are still under stress. What is being attempted now is, according to David Muth of the National Wildlife Federation is “the largest restoration attempt ever in the world, with billions invested or committed to projects to help restore the Gulf and its ecosystem, and another $12 billion to be spent through the year 2032.” He told The Washington Post “’It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to squander,’ he said, adding that the projects create jobs.”
What Lessons Have Been Learned
Mark Davis, a professor at Tulane argued during Zoom panel organized by SkyTruth that everything “that happened in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could have been forseen…until we get policies in line with the risks we are running [in the Gulf] we are going to be incredibly vulnerable.” And Oceana in its report entitled “Hindsight 2020” wrote, “the industry’s safety culture has not improved, and government oversight remains deficient. If anything, another disaster is more likely because the industry is drilling deeper and farther offshore, which increases the likelihood of spills and makes responding to them more difficult.” As E&E News described the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, that was created to correct the prior conflicts of interest in the oil lease process, as “fractious, demoralized and riddled with staff distrust toward its leadership, according to multiple accounts from current and former employees.”
H/T to the NOAA Team from the Obama Administration for their hard work in the days, weeks, months and years after the spill right up through January 19, 2017. It was great to see them all — albeit by Zoom.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In Cispatá on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, scientists have calculated just how much carbon a mangrove forest stores. Up until now, that number has treated mangroves like trees on land — missing more than half of their carbon store in the soil under trees. The calculation in Cispatá estimates the […]
Over the last decade, nearly 91% of the sunflower sea star population has been wiped out, landing the species a “critically endangered” categorization last year. The sea stars, which have 24 arms, are an important part of the underwater food web: they keep kelp forests healthy by feeding on sea urchins.
Why This Matters: Between rising temperatures, overfishing, ocean acidification, among other harms, people have thrown the U.S. West Coast marine ecosystem off the balance.
Video gaming experts say that game design is now shifting towards specific environmental issues. Since games are designed by young people, it is not surprising that eco-based storylines like climate change and ocean exploration are coming into vogue. For example, the BBC Blue Planet II nature documentary inspired a video game called Beyond Blue, in which […]
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