Back in July, I noted that oil was no longer spilling into the Gulf Of Mexico from the well involved in the Deepwater Horizon accident, and that there was cautious optimism over the dispersion of the remaining oil. That optimism may have been unfounded.
Because there is still a lot of oil out in the Gulf, according to those fishing the waters. That discovery was made last Friday: a large orange slick of weathered oil was moving towards marshes in the Mississippi delta. The prospect of having to close fishing areas that had only recently been reopened is not a welcome one.
Moreover, this is the time of year that millions of migrating birds head to the Gulf. So it was good to hear that the Coast Guard got on the case swiftly, but their conclusion – that the orange substance was only algae – did not impress the fishers, some of whom are having their own lab samples tested.
As one of them put it, “I’ve never seen algae that looked orange, that was sticky, smelt like oil and that stuck to the boat and had to be cleaned off with solvent”.
Could be a little too early to celebrate.