Suddenly BP's oil disaster is getting an unusually high amount of positive publicity. Media reports are concluding that most of the oil has disappeared. The static kill has been successful at holding back the oil pressure, and the U.S. government issued a scientific report suggesting that 75 percent of the 4.9 million barrels of oil that gushed into the Gulf as been burned, dispersed or evaporated. But even if you assume that all of the dispersed oil has been degraded, there are still an estimated 1.3 million barrels out in the environment -- five times the amount of oil released during the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. People observing beaches in southern coastal states of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida say they are still covered with oil and Corexit 9500, the chemical dispersant BP sprayed to break up the oil and remove it from view. Vast areas of ocean that used to be abundant with sea life show little signs of life anywhere. Plastic bags full of dead sea birds and oil are filling landfills in the south. If millions of gallons of oil have evaporated, what are the consequences for the air quality in the Gulf? Residents have reported that in areas normally besieged by mosquitos, there is now little need for repellant. Despite the rosy reports suddenly filling the airways, damage still appears to be ongoing. There is still plenty of oil in the Gulf that cannot, and will not, be cleaned up, and that will continue to wreak damage on the environment and the economies of Gulf states.
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