Gulf Oysters' Fate Illustrates 'Tyranny of Oil' Risks

True harm of BP spill may not be known for years: Paul Greenberg
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2011 1:58 PM CDT
Gulf Oysters' Fate Illustrates 'Tyranny of Oil' Risks
Teens walk past a sign of a closed oyster business in Golden Meadow, La.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf, and Paul Greenberg is worried enough about the consquences that he's putting an oyster on his Seder plate. It's a reminder to him that the most devastating effects of the spill happened below the waves and may take years to appear in full, he writes in the New York Times. Oyster stocks, for instance, were decimated—not by the oil directly but by the decision to release millions of gallons of freshwater into the Gulf to try to dilute the spill. Given oysters' role in filtering water, the eco effects of that alone could be "huge."

And then there's the nearly 2 milion gallons of the chemical Corexit, which "transformed the floating, possibly recoverable oil into an invisible angel of death that sank and claimed not just the first born but perhaps the first million born of many gulf creatures—a considerable blow to what is arguably America’s most important fish nursery." BP is working hard to have us forget about the spill, but we can't do that. Hence, his Seder symbolism. "Remember that in A.D. 2010, the Jewish year 5770, humanity damaged a valuable, nourishing ecosystem to maintain the tyranny of oil," he concludes. "Until we throw off that tyranny, we will mark many more plagues in the years to come." (Read more British Petroleum stories.)

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