Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Oil from Gulf Spill to Reach Florida Keys by Sunday

As lawmakers and oil company executives find themselves under increasing scrutiny, scientists following the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico seem convinced that large amounts of oil are headed for the Florida Keys over the weekend. Authorities have recovered at least 20 tar balls off the coast of Key West in recent days and tests are ongoing to determine whether the balls came from the Deepwater Horizon leak or if they originated elsewhere.

The large plumes of oil that have collected below the surface of the Gulf are becoming the focus of scientists and officials trying to determine where the danger lies from the spill. Satellite imagery and other equipment have detected massive plumes of oil hovering just below the surface of the Gulf, but not visible to boats and aircraft scanning the surface.

It is because of the plumes and the uncertainty surrounding just how much oil has been released from the gushing well, that some worst-case scenario projections are being made. Some expect oil to reach the Florida Keys by Sunday, eventually turning the corner around the southern tip of Florida and soiling the Atlantic coast of Florida in the coming days and weeks.

The Obama administration is now coming under increasing fire from the media and lawmakers as more details emerge about the cozy relationship between the U.S. government and big oil. The fact that there was no contingency plan in place for this type of accident speaks volumes about the lack of oversight and that inability of the oil industry to police itself.

President Obama has appointed a Presidential Commission to investigate the cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and how such events may be avoided in the future. Unfortunately, such a measure will most certainly be too little too late.