Here’s a summary of everything I’ve heard about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico so far:
It was caused by the explosion of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. No one knows why it exploded and 11 people are missing, presumed dead.
Since it initial leak, there are now three spots that are leaking and it’s leaking 5 times as much as they originally thought.
Because it is probably going to hit a bunch of wildlife preserves, like the Gulf Islands National Seashore and pretty much the entire Louisiana coast, people are estimating that it is going to be a worse environmental impact than the Exxon Valdez spill.
Right now, the government has stepped in and is helping as much as possible. President Obama declared it a national emergency, so the military has been deployed to try to stop the oil from reaching the coast.
To try to stop it, they’re (1) trying to cap the leaks unsuccessfully, (2) drilling another drill to try to relieve the pressure so that it will stop leaking and allow them to cap it, but this will take at least two months, and (3) trying to set the oil on fire. When it burns, it becomes a solid that can be easily skimmed off the water and that won’t harm animals. But the downside is that they can’t just set the whole thing on fire so they have to do it little by little and it’s really slow. Also, burning it releases toxins into the air.
Floating barriers have been set up around the coast from Louisiana to Pensacola Beach, but the oil hit the Louisiana coast. So far, a few animals have been hurt including a soiled brown pelican that was cleaned and a sea turtle that died. The floating barriers are less effective because of bad weather and changing winds this weekend causing waves to overlap them.
Track the oil spill on a special site from CNN. CNN also has a good interactive page to show different clean-up and recovery methods.
The Pensacola News Journal finally decided that local coverage of the oil spill was called for on Friday afternoon – over a week after the oil rig exploded. Before that, the only source I could find that was covering the Pensacola area specifically was Green Tour TV. Unfortunately, their coverage has really been lacking lately.