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The government released a report Wednesday indicating that about half of the oil released during the disaster has evaporated, dissolved or was burned, skimmed or collected. The implication was that future damage from the oil might be less than has been feared.
That suggestion wasn't happily received on the Gulf Coast, where people are still coping with the collapse of the fishing and tourism industries and saw the report as fresh evidence that the Obama administration was preparing to abandon them in the same way they felt the Bush administration did after Hurricane Katrina.
Many Gulf scientists outside the government were skeptical of the analysis.
"There is no way enough information has been collected so far to get an accurate assessment" of the fate of all the oil released by the busted well, said Jim Cowan, a Louisiana State University oceanography professor.
"No one is saying that it's not a threat anymore," Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said at the White House. "I think the common view of most of the scientists inside and outside government is that the effects of this spill will likely linger for decades."
Since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, NOAA's initial take on the scope of the disaster has proved too optimistic. The agency at first pegged the BP leak at 5,000 barrels a day and disputed reports of underwater oil plumes. It later confirmed the subsurface plumes and this week said that at its peak, the damaged well poured 62,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf each day.
"This is still an unfolding eco-toxicological experiment," said Ronald Kendall, director of Texas Tech University's Institute of Environmental and Human Health. "Even if all the oil were gone tomorrow, the effects of the spill on species such as sea turtles, bluefin tuna and sperm whales may take years to understand."
"It is a little soon to start dancing a jig," said Jackie Savitz, a marine biologist with Oceana, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group. "The bottom line is at least 50 percent of what got into the water is still there, just based on this report."
The last I heard yesterday, was that about 72% of the oil spill had been dissipated or contained, in the manner that you have said. Even if the amount is 28%, it is still a lot. Oil is an organic substance however and as such, will be fed upon by bacteria, broken up by wave motion and by evaporation in the same manner as when there is a natural leak from the ocean floor. The oil that reaches the shores, will have to be cleared manually. The Gulf of Mexico, is not the only area, that has the marine life that you have reported. The larger fish, the whales and sea turtles will move on to other areas if their food supply is no longer available.
It sounds like pure speculation to me. I think they were just downplaying it for the people. I do believe that a percentage of it has dissolved, evaporated and been burned but I do not believe their estimates, which is all that they are, estimates. All I care about is that they continue to restore the Gulf.

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