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BP oil spill presents researchers with unwelcome opportunity of a lifetime

Von: pautrey (rpautrey2@gmail.com) [Profil]
Datum: 03.06.2010 23:58
Message-ID: <b1b50805-910b-4fbd-abf7-9087114906be@r27g2000yqb.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.health
BP oil spill presents researchers with unwelcome opportunity of a

By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 3, 2010; 3:26 PM

BATON ROUGE -- For some people, a giant underwater oil leak isn't
solely an environmental disaster. It's also a delicious, once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity for research.

"I was praying for a small oil spill and I ended up with this," said
Sonia Gallegos, an oceanographer at the Naval Research Lab at Stennis
Space Center in Mississippi. Last year Gallegos received funding from
NASA to study spills. This year she received a terrible, awesome gift
from BP, and -- like 100 other scientists gathered at Louisiana State
University on Thursday -- is now playing mediator between the brain
and the heart.

"I'm very happy to have something to work with, but at the same time I
live here," said Gallegos, who's working on automated detection of oil
spills. "It breaks my heart. It's my home, and I understand the impact
on people."

"I live two blocks from the beach in Bay St. Louis -- we smell the
benzine," said her lab colleague Allen Reed, a geologist. "It's an
opportunity, but it's very unwelcome in many ways."

Early Thursday morning the scientists and federal officials wolfed
down danishes, mini doughnuts and coffee before engaging in a day-long
mind meld. Curiously, the summit took place in a campus building named
after LSU alumnus Lodwrick M. Cook, former chairman and chief
executive of ARCO, an oil company that was acquired by BP in 2000.

"We're here to find out what we know, what we don't know and what we
need to know," said Robert Gagosian, president of the District-based
nonprofit Consortium for Ocean Leadership, which organized the event.

What they know: The oil will be a matter of concern and study for

What they don't know: Where exactly the oil is going, how much there
is, and what exactly it will do to wildlife and industry.

What they need to know: How to choreograph dozens of state, local and
federal players, and how to harmonize streams of data into an
accessible, coherent set that guides future action.

From a dais in front of round, white-clothed tables, Jane Lubchenco,
administrator of NOAA, updated the crowd on the federal response,
which in the next two months will remain focused on both the movement
and immediate impact of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak.
Within six months, the government hopes to calculate the impact of
dispersants, conduct seafood surveys and quantify the injury to
natural resources. In the longer term, it plans to study the impact on
and the possible restoration of ecosystems, as well as the
socioeconomic fallout in coastal states.

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