The latest prediction is that it will take a lot longer to cap the oil well in the Gulf.
BP America said Monday that it would take another 75 days to finish one of two relief wells it’s drilling to shut down the flow. By then, if the spill doesn’t worsen and the relief well stops the leak, some 20 million gallons of oil will be swirling in the gulf, nearly double the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.
Unlike the Alaska spill, which coated a rock-strewn bay, BP’s oil will cling to a sponge-like coast, entering the pores of mangrove forests and sea-grass beds and the breeding grounds for crabs, shrimp and oysters.
Already some of the richest fishing grounds of the gulf are off-limits, idling thousands of commercial fishermen. Some restaurants in New Orleans and elsewhere are either out of homegrown oysters or are down to less than a week’s supply.
And what if they can’t stop it? That’s not just some fear put out there by the doomsayers; that’s a real possibility.