Admiral Thad Allan is in charge of the US Coast Guard response, so he was at Dauphin Island, Alabama Friday. He said the response has been the same whether it was 5,000 or 200,000 gallons of oil spilled per day or more. How about 3,000,000 gallons a day? That is the newest estimate based on calculations from the video of the oil coming out of the pipe on the gulf floor. That puts the total volume already surpassing the Exxon Valdez total.
And the leak continues. A pipe insert, a top hat cover or a top kill are new plans to replace the failed dome cover effort. Oil tar balls are now on Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island and Mississippi and Louisiana thanks to southeast winds. A southwest wind targets Pensacola Beach. The tar balls, or tar patties, are now as big as eight inches. Dead pelicans, turtles and porpoises have been found. And the estuary for 60% of the US seafood is in danger.
Even Horn Island, an uninhabited pristine barrier island known for Walter Anderson nature drawings, has tar balls on the beach. But that is just the surface. What lies underneath is the rest of the story.
As we follow this story we witness our government response. On Dauphin Island a crew of paid workers stood in the hot sun fully clothed in hard hats, boots, protective covering and gloves. What were they doing, a local beach goer asked? “Waiting on tar balls”, they said.
$350 million dollars later in BP oil clean up efforts, we are waiting.
–Dawn Butler reporting