Gulf Oil Spill’s Effects May Prove to be More than Environmental

A recent article in the New York Times declared, “The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than expected.  The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf are largely gone.”

Although not of the magnitude of BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill, the Gulf is regularly subject to natural oil seeps on a continual basis.  The warm waters of the Gulf consistently break down the oil through natural biological processes that include oil-consuming bacteria.  For years to come, scientists will continue to study the long-term effects of dissolved oil deeper within the ocean as well as closer to the shoreline.

It is common to underestimate the power of nature in offsetting ecological disasters through natural mechanisms. While focusing predominantly upon the ecological effects of oil seepage into the ocean, there may be other dramatic outcomes to our society.

The greatest effects in the long run from the Gulf oil spill may not be ecological but economic and political. The Obama administration, eager to “not let a good crisis go to waste,” is doing serious economic harm to Gulf residents through a moratorium on off-shore drilling.  It could strongly be argued that most Gulf residents would rather work than be dependent on handouts resulting from a deal privately negotiated between the Obama administration and BP.

The full environmental impact from the Gulf oil spill may not be felt for some time. The economic impact from the U.S. government policies, however, is much more immediate.  Many Gulf residents are watching their jobs disappearing as oil rigs move to foreign waters where government regulations are more encouraging to the oil industry.