Saturday, November 20, 2010

Marine Scientists Tell Us What's Known About Deepwater Horizon Oil Impact On Gulf of Mexico

Three marine scientists from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg's College of Marine Science shared their recent findings and perspectives on the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill at a St. Petersburg Gulf Science forum Tuesday evening. A capacity audience filled the 250 seat auditorium at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute Auditorium
adjacent to USF St. Petersburg.

The forum was organized by staff of the state offices of several environmental organizations in order to share important scientific data with the public.
Attendees asked over 40 questions of the three scientists in a Q & A session after their presentations. The environmental organizations: Sierra Club Florida, Gulf Restoration Network, Defenders of Wildlife and the Pew Environmental Group, also gave updates on the prospects for restoring the gulf’s health and moving beyond oil to a more efficient and clean energy future.

We’re lucky to have some of America’s top independent researchers here in St. Petersburg, scientists who went out in the Gulf and found the oil underneath the surface and on the floor of the Gulf. They courageously reported their findings despite immense pressure to keep quiet, and we owe it to them to assist in providing a platform so the public can get the facts straight from them.

We hope to hold more forums like this to share more scientific data on the many different areas of concern about the health of the Gulf its fish and wildlife, and the people who live by it, now being further investigated by such researchers. It’ll take years to understand the full impact of this disaster. Most of us weren’t directly impacted – we learned Tuesday just how lucky we were to escape, and that next time it might very well be the entire state that suffers, not just Floridians in the panhandle. With proponents of nearshore drilling now firmly in power in Tallahassee, Floridians need to learn more about what happened, rather than forget how bad it really was.

We'll soon post a filmed recording of excerpts as well as of the entire forum on this site. In the meantime, WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio in Tampa covered the forum and their story provides a good summary of the information presented.

Phil Compton, Field Office
Sierra Club Florida, St. Petersburg