Concentrated globs of oil are washing up the shores of the Florida Keys, an ominous sign that the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be carried to the Eastern U.S. seaboard by the so-called "loop current," a powerful underwater current moving up the Atlantic coast from the gulf.
Meanwhile, in its efforts to disperse the spill, authorities are using a controversial chemical known as Corexit, which has been been banned in Britain for its harmful affects on sea life, leaving many wondering if the cleanup effort is creating another mess.
A mile-long pipe that was installed on the blown well Sunday is successfully channelling some oil away from the spill site. But it's only a fraction of the thousands of gallons still gushing into the Gulf. While it's apparently impossible to ascertain the exact amount, it's clear is that the spill is developing into a much larger and devastating disaster than originally anticipated.
At the Senate hearings Tuesday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar conceded that the Minerals Management Service (MMS) has failed to properly police offshore drilling. Salazar said the agency will be examined closely to weed out "bad apples" and ensure its integrity.
The economic costs of the spill are astronomical and growing daily, but the environmental costs are surely beyond dollars and cents, with no end in sight. If this isn't a lesson about our energy future, what is?
- Mitchell Flexo
UPDATE - Wednesday, May 19, 8AM PT: The U.S. Coast Guard says that the tar balls discovered washed ashore in the Florida Keys aren't linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
A report released Wednesday says tests by a Coast Guard laboratory show the tar balls don't match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. (via AP)