"The EPA is warning that Gulf Coast residents are at risk of headaches, nausea, and other ill health effects; the culprit is air pollution from the oil burns that response teams are conducting to try to keep the big slick away from coastlines."
GOP pundits and politicos -- as well as some Democrats -- are spewing
a mess of sayings that some call "irresponsible" in response to the Gulf oil
spill. Hate-talker Rush Limbaugh accused 'environmentalist wackos' of having
blown up the rig, and former White House spokesperson Dana Perino echoed him.
Neither presented any evidence for the insinuations.
"Scientists say the Gulf oil spill could get into the what's called the Loop Current within a day, eventually carrying oil south along the Florida coast and into the Florida Keys." After that, it could continue into the Gulf Stream.
"The Cumberland River having reached its crest was little comfort amid fears that receding floodwaters could reveal more victims of deadly storms that swamped much of middle Tennessee."
Dispersants used on the Gulf oil spill may have toxic effects and harm ecosystems -- raising questions about whether the cure is worse than the disease. Companies refuse to disclose some of the ingredients, saying they are trade secrets.
"National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officials last fall warned the Department of Interior, which regulates offshore oil drilling, that it was dramatically underestimating the frequency of offshore oil spills and was dangerously understating the risk and impacts a major spill would have on coastal residents."
Although BP has said it will compensate victims, "lawmakers and Gulf Coast residents began questioning whether the company will take full responsibility for the economic losses stemming from the spill. ... A law passed after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill requires companies to pay for cleanup costs but no more than $75 million for other damage."
"U.S. officials closed commercial and recreational fishing in a large swathe of waters hit by the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Sunday."
"Heavy winds continued to whip up high waves on the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, thwarting attempts to contain the growing slick that's washing ashore in southern Louisiana and threatening the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. Rough waves rolled over containment booms, pushing oil-slicked water closer to shore, where wetlands and other fragile ecosystems stand at risk."
Federal agencies and BP were embarrassed when their lowball estimates of the volume of oil spilling into the Gulf were corrected by a small, independent environmental group analyzing federal satellite data from their West Virginia office. The finding called into question the credibility of federal and company statements.