24 May 2010:
Oil Washes Into Wetlands
As Obama Administration Pressures BP
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig blowout is spreading across a 150-mile stretch of wetlands in Louisiana and Alabama, threatening vital marsh grasses and the shellfish and fish nurseries they harbor.
Gulf spill cleanup
In an effort to flush as much oil as possible from the wetlands, government officials have now opened wide all the Mississippi River floodgates above the affected coastline. Government and university scientists say that once oil seeps into the marshes, cleaning the spill is extremely difficult and that the only viable option for many affected areas is to do nothing and let nature break down the spill. Oil in the wetlands threatens to smother valuable grasses and plants and wipe out oyster beds and kill shrimp, crabs, and fish. As the oil spill grows — conservative estimates say the amount of oil spilled now equals half of the oil released in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster — an angry U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, said the U.S. government may “push” BP “out of the way” and take over the effort to stop the gushing oil. The Environmental Protection Agency also said it is “evaluating all legal options” to force BP to use less toxic dispersants in an effort to break up the spill.
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