Sand Berms and Burning Oil Slicks in the Gulf of Mexico
As part of KBOO's special day of programming about the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico - Stop the Oil – Save the Gulf! this episode of Locus Focus looks at two under-reported stories coming out of the Gulf.
First we talk with Portland science writer Liz Grossman, who has been following the health impacts of the dispersants being used to break up the oil in the spill. We hear about how BP is trying to downplay the danger both to humans and wildlife of the chemicals they are using, while at the same time there are growing reports of workers exposed to the dispersants who are getting sick. We also talk about the lack of available data on air quality near the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which is a serious concern since BP has been burning off oil that has reached the water's surface around the site of the damaged rig.
In the second half of the program we talk with Len Bahr, retired director of the Governor's Applied Coastal Science program in Louisiana, who now writes a blog entitled LaCoastPost. We discuss the science and politics behind dramatic plans to "fix" the oil spill problem, such as building a huge sand berm along the Louisiana coastline to prevent the oil from reaching into the marshes and beaches. Len has strong opinions as a coastal scientist, about the fallacy of this plan and believes that it is driven by politics, not science.