It's been some time since we checked in on how the Gulf Coast is recovering from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but HBO aired If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don't Rise this weekend so we're good and angry (actually, angrier). And just in time, because according to marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia BP is (surprise!) lying about the residual oil. BP claims overseer Ken Feinberg said that the Gulf should be hunky-dory by 2012, but Joye says, "I've been to the bottom. I've seen what it looks like with my own eyes. It's not going to be fine by 2012." And she's got the pictures to prove it.
A Department of Energy scientist, working with a research grant from BP since before the spill, said that microbes were doing a "fairly fast" job of eating up all the oil. But Joye's research was more widespread, and she said the "magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know." Joye traveled across 2,600 square miles of sea floor and cataloged the oil she found coating the bottom. "This is dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads," she said, and estimated that the amount of methane gas released into the water is the equivalent of about 1.5 and 3 million barrels of oil. NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco said, "even though the oil degraded relatively rapidly and is now mostly but not all gone, damage done to a variety of species may not become obvious for years to come." As of January tar balls were still washing up on the shores. However, there might be some good news...sort of.
Ken Feinberg promised over 500,000 citizens with claims that they will receive a compensation check from BP for any business lost because of the oil spill. BP will write most a check for twice their losses for 2010, and oystermen will get four times their losses. However, they all must agree not to sue BP, who think that the compensation checks are too generous. BP has already paid $3.4 billion in partial claims and $12.6 billion for the clean-up.
In other Gulf news, actor Stephen Baldwin (who needs the money) is suing Kevin Costner, claiming that he was cheated out of profits after investing in Coster's Waterworld-inspired oil separating machine. It's good to know that in a time where Gulf Coast residents are still struggling to make ends meet, hundreds of miles of natural wetlands are being destroyed every day and animals are suffocating because of a man-made disaster, C-listers can still money-grub while centrifuge machines seem to be sitting in a warehouse. We're off to find a canoe and a Shop-Vac so we can fix this damn mess ourselves.