How much oil?
Froomkin has been doing some of the best reporting on the gulf. He finds people who are trying to get to the crux of the matter, totally different from the spin echo machine in the press. A good sample:
But more than anything, she said, what scientists need to know is precisely how much oil and gas has leaked. Neither BP nor the Obama administration have been forthcoming on that front. Joye wrote:Clearly, the administration has been happy to let BP run the narrative, and use their chumps in the Coast Guard and NOAA to back BP up as best they can. This has been going on now for close to two months, and nothing has changed. No one asks why doesn't the government try to get independent verification of the size of the leak Why are we still totally dependent on BP cameras?
It is virtually impossible to understand or quantify the ecological consequences of the BP blowout on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem without knowing how much oil and gas has leaked from the wellhead. These numbers need to be estimated and corroborated independently based on available observational data. Unfortunately, the leak rate was not quantified robustly during the first month of the spill (at least that information has not been made publically available). Unless we know how much oil is leaking from the wellhead, we cannot gauge the full extent of the ecological consequences in deepwater or surface water environments. For example, how much deepwater water column oxygen consumption will be fueled by this influx of oil and gas? Which water column microbial communities will be stimulated by oil and gas? What is the time scale of this response? How will surface water microbial communities respond to surface oil and gas inputs? Potential fishery, marine mammal, and wildlife consequences of the BP blowout cannot be properly predicted until we know the magnitude of the disaster. To put it bluntly, the scientific community is hamstrung until we know precisely how much oil and gas has leaked and is leaking from the wellhead.