Letter: Residual oil complaint rings hollow

Amy Wold reported on the increasingly difficult search for oil residues still sequestered in our coastal beaches and marshes from the infamous BP blowout in 2010 (The Advocate, Aug. 12). She quoted Gov. Bobby Jindal’s coastal adviser Garret Graves as being highly critical of the half-hearted effort by the U.S. Coast Guard (and BP) to recover residual hydrocarbons.

This complaint rings extremely hollow, for two reasons.

First there is the physical impossibility of recovering most of the indeterminate volume of crude oil that was originally spilled along the edge of our dying delta. Credible scientists have concluded that during the three years since the disaster most of this toxic hydrocarbon “soup’ has either been consumed by bacteria or evaporated into the atmosphere. They have also warned that aggressive cleanup efforts in fragile marshes do more harm than good.

Second, whatever BP oil residue remains has been added to the background of chronic oil pollution to which our coastal ecosystem has long become accustomed, thanks to an oil and gas industry held largely unaccountable for its physical (and chemical) coastal damage.

Graves’ concerns about the risk of not recovering remaining BP oil are preposterous. This is the same guy who, along with his boss, is vehemently opposed to the recent lawsuit brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East to force oil and gas companies to pay for some of the proven damage they’ve done to our coast.

Hypocrisy knows no bounds these days.

Len Bahr

coastal scientist

Baton Rouge