Friday, May 7, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: real-time web news, politics, and scientific facts

Today, British Petroleum hopes to take careful aim and secure a hastily developed steel tower over one of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's primary leaks. Once secured, the oil that accumulates inside will be drained out from above. No easy task and there is much concern as to whether the tower can withstand Gulf currents and remain in place.

There is a constant stream of news bites coming from the broadcast media and most every environmental or conservation group is issuing calls to action to repeal offshore oil drilling permits. Rather than presume that I have anything more illuminating to contribute, I will leave you with three interesting information sources:

Real-Time Gulf-Crisis Web Site: Set up by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), this web site compiles breaking news reports on the Gulf oil spill throughout the day, in addition to providing an updated listing of FAQs. CBD is a proactive organization that uses the courts to produce results - so you won't find much love for oil companies or ineffective government agencies here but it's a good one-stop-shop for the latest news.

Interesting video segment from Keith Olbermann/MSNBC that documents some of the political history behind U.S. offshore drilling including Cheney/Halliburton and Interior Secretary Salazar/oil industry connections and even info about BP, years ago, passing on additional technological backups that could have prevented the oil blowout because they were deemed too costly - before BP reported record profits.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

We don't need to be rocket scientists to understand that oil is not good for the environment, but where is the objective science that measures and confirms that assumption? SeaWeb has issued a special report on the effects of oil, listing a variety of scientific studies and reports in abstract (ie: summary) format - you have to search for the complete article, although many are freely offered on the web via links. The studies are listed in categories covering the impact on humans, marine mammals, marine ecosystems, corals, and more. Click here to download the report in PDF.

We will all watch the events in the Gulf unfold and hope that the leak will be arrested soon. But the impact it will have on the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystems and shoreline economies will be felt for perhaps decades. Long after the last drop of oil has been mopped up, we need to keep the pressure on our elected officials in re-evaluating strategies that involve more drilling, when developing alternative energy sources should be our number one priority.

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