Is BP'S Macondo Reservoir Leaking More Oil?
The Gulf Coast is reeling from reports that fresh oil rising from BP's Macondo Reservoir - ground zero of last year's massive spill - is coming ashore, again. Scientists have confirmed the existence of a "second wave" of BP oil fouling Gulf waters and beaches, poisoning marine life and wildlife, and posing a grave public health risk.
While federal officials fail to acknowledge the problem, the situation in the Gulf worsens by the day. "It's deja vu all over again, in the very worst way," says New Orleans-based environmental attorney Stuart H. Smith. "We have fresh oil surfacing again at the Deepwater Horizon site.'
Through rigorous "fingerprint" testing, LSU chemist Ed Overton confirmed that slicks sweeping across the Macondo Prospect since mid-August are made up of BP oil. "It is a dead-ringer match," Professor Overton said. "I was amazed that the ratios matched as good as they did."
Chemical confirmation that the oil is from the Macondo wellsite provides vindication for those who pursued the truth for months despite a hard-nosed campaign of denial, intimidation and obfuscation executed by BP and its partners in the federal government. It is this very type of corporate-government "teamwork" that The Big Fix - the critically acclaimed oil spill documentary - portrays in riveting detail.
Based on lab-certified test results of oil samples taken last month on Horn Island - a narrow strip of federally protected land just 12 miles off the Mississippi coast -researchers believe that fresh BP oil from the Macondo Prospect has made landfall more than 100 miles north of its origin.
"These lab results provide more evidence that the Macondo Prospect is still leaking," says civil engineer Marco Kaltofen. "The data show that the Horn Island sample taken September 20th contains lighter hydrocarbons that normally degrade quickly. This oil looks like the original BP oil fingerprint from last summer. It's very fresh and very toxic."
Said Dr. William Sawyer, an independent scientist monitoring the spill, "The toxicological impact from additional oil plumes is alarming as many marine mammals and fish in that region are already critically stressed with immunological and reproductive dysfunction from PAHs and other total petroleum hydrocarbons we have been measuring within their tissues. Fresh petroleum is even more hazardous."
With respect to human health, Dr. Sawyer stated, "There is an epidemic of respiratory, neurological and dermatological disease among BP petroleum clean-up workers and coastal residents who sustained chronic inhalation exposures to the BP fumes."
"The federal government has failed to act responsibly," said Mr. Smith, "and the message contained in THE BIG FIX needs to be heard and seen by the rest of America, not just in the Gulf Coast."
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