After what has been an unduly long time constituting billions of dollars in losses, BP finally seems to be making forward progress. The vast surface area infused with oil seems to have diminished substantially according to aerial and radar reports. However, scientists have yet to determine how extensive the effect of the vast amount of dissipated oil will have on marine life and environment, as well as the long-term coastal impact.
Along with some natural evaporation, two recent storms in the area stirred up waters to speed the dispersion of the oil and aid thousands of boats equipped with a variety of eradication measures. However, the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf is unprecedented, therefore, scientists hesitate to estimate how many more weeks the clean up will need to continue.
While the livelihood of commercial fisherman continues to be threatened, tourism is making a slow comeback in the Gulf region, and expanding contamination seems unlikely. A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy confirms that the further from the wellhead the more diffuse the oil. While the problem remains acute in the northern Gulf, these studies indicate that the oil will not contaminate the Gulf Stream or drift into the Atlantic Ocean.
To view these reports see: www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100722_jag.html