Oil Remains in Gulf of Mexico
Greenpeace Finds Spilled Oil Remains in Gulf of Mexico
by Cain Burdeau
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Greenpeace said Nov. 1 it disagrees with official statements that most of the oil from the BP disaster is gone from the Gulf of Mexico, and a laboratory test confirms that crude from the disaster still sits on the seafloor.
“We’re still seeing a lot of oil out there,” said John Hocevar, a marine biologist with Greenpeace, during a news conference to mark the end of a three-month expedition by the group’s Arctic Sunrise vessel. “It’s on the surface, it’s in the sediment, it’s in the water column and it’s hundreds of miles away from the spill site.”
Federal agencies have said that most of the oil spilled into the Gulf has “evaporated,” dissipated, been dispersed or been burned and skimmed. As early as Aug. 4, U.S. officials said only 52.7 million gallons of oil were left in the Gulf — about 31 percent of the 172 million gallons that spewed into the water from the broken BP well. Government scientists also said they have not found any visible oil on the seafloor.
“They have often made it appear that everything is fine when it wasn’t,” Hocevar said.
Hocevar said Greenpeace recently received test results from an oiled sediment sample taken in late September from 1 mile deep and about 4.5 miles from the spill site. He said the tests confirmed that the oil in the sediment was from the BP spill.
Arctic Sunrise spent three months looking for oil and marine life in trouble after it arrived in the Gulf following the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Over that period, the Greenpeace vessel also helped about 20 scientists conduct a variety of oil spill research, Hocevar said.
One of those scientists, Caz Taylor, pulled in blue crab larvae across the Gulf — from Galveston, Texas to the Florida Panhandle — and found “mysterious orange droplets” on them, she said at the news conference. Extensive lab testing may help determine if the orange blobs on the larvae were caused by the oil spill.