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Is there Oil Still out there or Not? The Science of the Spill Reviews Research Findings

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 10 Dec 2010 08:03am | comments
The Mississippi Gulf Coast, summer of 2010

Scientists continue to research how the worst spill in US history is affecting the Gulf Coast region. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports .

Bob Thomas is the Director of the Center for Environmental Communications at Loyola University in New Orleans. Today he speaks about the importance of bringing scientists together to discuss the research:

"From the perspective of what we know from science, what scientist understand, what are the unanswered questions? What are the deep concerns that ecologists would have about the impacts on the Gulf of Mexico?"

One of those scientist is John Stein, Manager of NOAA's seafood safety program in the Gulf of Mexico, He has been testing for compounds in shrimp, fish and oysters, looking for levels that would raise concerns about safety.

"What we've found is that the seafood from the gulf has very consistently been well below those thresholds and it should help assure the American public that seafood from the gulf is very safe very wholesome."

Experts say Mississippi's barrier islands provide the first line of defense in tropical storms... AND in events like the Oil Spill. So, the island's health is also under scrutiny. Rick Clark, Chief of Science and Resources Management with the Gulf Island National Seashore, says clean up continues on Cat and Ship islands.

"Most of the oil that has been recovered and that continues to be focused upon is oil that has stranded or that has occurred on the beach. One of the bigger unknowns with respect to this incident is what oil may still be submerged."

DR Ed Overton Professor Emeritus in Environmental studies at LSU. says the estimates are that something on the order of 22 million gallons of oil per year already seeps into the Gulf of Mexico.

"And this process has been going on for millions of years so the environment is acclimated, that is they have bacteria that are already capable of degrading oil."

For a more in depth look at the Science of the Spill be sure to turn to MPB-TV tonight at 7. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

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The Mississippi Gulf Coast, summer of 2010


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