I recently made a trip to Seattle, and to nobodies surprise, the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill is all over the news- fed to the masses in a way only the US media can do.
When they first started talking about it, they referred to how it “could easily be the worst oil spill in history”- which is just an insane over-exaggeration of the facts- then they slowing started pulling that back, to “easily the worst spill in US history”, using the Exxon Valdez spill as a barometer for “badness”.
To put some perspective around this- the Exxon Valdez spill was 37,000 tonnes (~270,000 barrels), which is not even in the top 30 biggest oil spills on record, and it’s only the 3rd worst in US history. The worst on record, was the Gulf War oil spill at ~1,500,000 tonnes (~10,995,000 barrels of oil).
The current, most widely accepted flow rate for the Horizon Oil spill is ~12,000 to 19,000 barrels/day (so ~15,500 barrels / day, or ~2,114 tonnes /day)- which means there has been ~86,000 tonnes (~635,500 barrels) to date- which would make it the third worst in US history next to the Greenpoint Brooklyn and Hawaiian Patriot spills, and around the 20th worst on record in the world.
Obviously, all these numbers are estimates, but the point is, while it’s really really bad, and of course is something that needs to be stopped as soon as possible- it’s happened before- it’s not new- it’s just the story of the moment, so people are instructed to be outraged right now- but people will lose interested and stop caring- especially if it takes until Aug to drill the relief wells.
Even better, the Ixtoc spill 31 years ago, which btw- is the second biggest spill ever.