Dismissing the gusher --- nothing to see here, move along

Dismissing The Gusher

by digby

I posted yesterday about the emerging meme that the BP disaster was not big deal and today Brad Johnson at Grist puts that meme in perspective:

In a contrarian take, Time Magazine's Michael Grunwald wrote a preemptive post-mortem impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster, saying that it "does not seem to be inflicting severe environmental damage." Grunwald believes that Rush Limbaugh "has a point" because the right-wing radio host spent weeks dismissing the disaster. New York Times reporters Justin Gillis and Campbell Robertson wrote that the "oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected." The Associated Press's John Carey believes "the oil slicks that once spread across thousands of miles of the Gulf of Mexico have largely disappeared." The narrative of the disappearing disaster has been promoted by Politico's Mike Allen and the Drudge Report.

That figures. I saw Grunwald on TV yesterday and it was clear that he had a specific agenda. He is someone who has spent his life working on the issue of the disappearing wetlands and he's upset that the oil spill has drained all the energy out of that effort. Apparently, like so many other liberal activists, he has no imagination and is unable to see how one can raise the general environmental consciousness through the attention being paid to the BP catastrophe. It was clear to me that his ego was at work. (As for the rest --- well, they are myopic or anxious to have this boring story over so they can start covering Democratic sex scandals again. Maybe both.)

Anyway, Johnson puts this ridiculous idea to rest:

[T]he only honest take on the BP disaster right now is that this is a calamity, the true scope of which will take years to discover, with many impacts impossible to ever know. No one knows how badly this disaster will affect the dying marshlands of Louisiana. No one knows how badly the toxic oil plumes will affect the spawning grounds of the bluefin tuna, the feeding grounds of the threatened Gulf sturgeon, or the future of the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles, whose corpses have been found at 15 times the historical rate this summer. No one knows what the long-term physical and mental health impacts will be on the tens of thousands of cleanup workers. Moreover, it is undoubtedly premature to announce that the vast oil slick has largely disappeared from the ocean's surface. Thick oil, vast slicks, and tar balls continue to wash ashore along Louisiana's coastline. Satellite imagery from July 27 and 28 -- as the stories of disappearing oil were being filed -- show a vast region still discolored by slicks and sheen, little diminished from previous weeks.

The Donkey Edge is constantly updating their coverage of health implications of the Gulf calamity here. The latest is an outbreak of unexplained hideous skin lesions among cleanup workers. But all those toxic chemicals are no big deal. Let's move along.