U.S. Government: Oil Spill Not That Big a Deal, Really

Good news on the oil spill front! Not only is BP's "static kill" tactic apparently working, there's a new report from the U.S. government saying that the oil in the Gulf of Mexico "poses only a slight risk." Huzzah!

According to the report, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only 26 percent of the 4.9 million barrels of oil released by the ruptured well is still at sea or on shore "in a form that could... cause problems." That's only, like, 1.2 million barrels of oil, which is so little the fish probably don't even notice it.

And get this: Only "thousands" of birds and other animals died, a "relatively modest toll." And, when you think about it, aren't there too many birds anyway?

Now, as The New York Times points out, "It remains to be seen whether subtle, long-lasting environmental damage from the spill will be found." But why would we expect that, besides the fact that such long-lasting damage "has been the case after other large oil spills"?

Sure, NOAA head Jane Lubcheno says that "we don't know yet the full impact of this spill on the ecosystem or the people of the gulf." But doesn't that mean it's possible that the "full impact" will be good, like maybe the oil spill will make crabs taste better?

And besides, why shouldn't we trust the NOAA report? Obviously, their lowball estimates of the size of the oil spill didn't withstand the scrutiny of an independent scientific panel, which doesn't instill a ton of faith. But that was, like, months ago.

[NYT; pic via AP]