Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Rest My Case

In my previous post I published my opinion that the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would not be the decades long environmental catastrophe that some constituencies tried to make it out to be.  In the weeks following that post, while the well continued to flow largely unabated, and the flow-rate estimates kept rising, I second-guessed myself a time or two, hoping desperately for the day that seemed like it would never come--the day that oil stopped flowing into the Gulf.  Finally, with the installation of "the cap", the flow was restricted, and then stopped.  As of today, the final kill operation is still a couple of weeks away from completion, but I think it's fair to say that the Macondo oil spill response is now officially in clean-up mode.

And what's this?  They can't find any oil to clean up?  After a couple of weeks and a tropical wave the stuff has largely disappeared.  Seems like the ocean is a big place (though Tony Hayward would have done better not to mention it), and wind and waves and sun and microbes have been doing their jobs.  I do not intend to minimize the damage that has been done to human lives and the environment; certainly, damage has been done.  But the damage will diminish to a low level quickly, in months not years, and the ways of life that were pronounced dead will be restored.  I think we all ought to be optimistic about that.