Gulf Scientist: The Oil’s Still Out There

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Another independent expert disputed the Obama administration’s claims that the vast majority of the oil from the BP spill is “gone.” Dr. Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, told the National Oil Spill Commission on Monday that he believes more than half of the oil is still in the Gulf, and that “much of it is now buried in marine and coastal sediments.”

The administration’s estimates on both the size of the spill and where the oil went have stirred up controversy in recent weeks. While the government claimed in early August that most of the oil was “gone”, independent experts have found oil accumulating on the floor of the Gulf and suspended in giant underwater plumes.

MacDonald’s testimony supports many of these independent reports:

[T]he BP oil discharge was at least 10,000 times more concentrated in space and time and about twelve times greater in magnitude than the total annual release from natural seeps of the Gulf of Mexico. In my scientific opinion, the bulk of this material was dispersed in surface layers, from which about one third evaporated and ten percent was removed by burning or skimming. An additional ten percent was chemically dispersed. The remaining fraction—over fifty percent of the total discharge—is a highly durable material that resists further dissipation. Much of it is now buried in marine and coastal sediments. There is scant evidence for bacterial degradation of this material prior to burial.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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