With the elections nearing, fall weather setting in and the holidays soon to follow, that BP oil spill horror is receding in the public’s rear view mirror.
But the U.S. government remains doggedly committed to the clean-up, according to Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft, who updated a handful of reporters today.
Here’s the scoop, by the numbers.
- 11,200 people remain engaged in the oil spill response across the Gulf of Mexico. That’s down a lot compared to the 48,000 who responded at the peak of the disaster, but remains more than those who worked recovery at the peak of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
In a symbolic but moving gesture, the Hands Across the Sands oil drilling protest on Saturday brought out people from Miami to Melbourne to stand in solidarity for clean beaches, and against more offshore oil drilling.
There were events around the world, but the turnout was especially heavy in the U.S., spanning the nation from High Line Park in New York City and Nags Head in North Carolina in the East, to Puget Sound and Los Angeles and several beaches in between on the West Coast. People lined up in Anchorage and Maui.
The heartbreaking photos and video, many released yesterday when it was discovered that a famous rookery on Grand Isle had been inundated with oil, leave no doubt that this latest human accident will suffocate life wherever it lands and beyond. It will asphyxiate birds with a coating of oil, and orphan offspring left behind in the nests.
As the growing oil spill reached the coast of Louisiana Friday, environmental groups, aghast at the growing calamity, called on President Obama to do more than suspend new off-shore oil drilling. The president announced earlier in the day that no more oil exploration would take place until the BP oil spill had been thoroughly investigated. An estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day continued to pour into the Gulf of Mexico from the deep sea wellhead, 11 days after an explosion sunk the rig and killed 11 crew members.
Up around Cape Cod, they were so worried about how the Cape Wind project might affect their views, or more precisely, their property values, that the opposition to this groundbreaking project dragged on and on. It took nine years to get final approval, which came yesterday from the Department of the Interior.
Two years ago we ran a story about another wind project, in nearby Hull, Mass., where the vast majority of residents are quite pleased with their money-saving wind turbines, which are a lot more up close and view-affecting than the Cape Wind project will ever be. Richard Miller, operations manager of the Hull Municipal Light Plant (HMLP), said then: “There has been no resistance on the part of the residents.”
Perhaps wind is a little less intimidating once it’s saving your school district $20K a year.