Oil Spill Solutions: A Blimp, An Actor and A Whale

Nothing is too strange when oil is forecast

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Whoever would have thought that Florida would be issuing daily oil forecasts as if they were predicting weather? Check out today’s advisory from the state governor’s office:

Forecasts are for winds and currents to move oil in the Gulf of Mexico westward and projections are Escambia County beaches will remain largely oil free for the next several days.

After 81 days of continuous oil flow into the Gulf from BP’s blown out well, this wee statement symbolizes the new norm for people who must accept the spilled oil as a routine part of their lives. It’s much worse of course for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, whose residents are forced into hand-to-hand combat with the invading oil. Some pretty exotic solutions are just now coming to their aid:

Actor Kevin Costner’s oil/water separator took to the Gulf yesterday, hoping to skim up oil much faster than current techniques. Supposedly, the device can operate in much rougher conditions than other skimmers. His company is called Ocean Therapy.

 "A Whale," the world’s hugest skimmer at 2 1/2 football fields long, is also trying to prove its worth in the Gulf, amid skepticism from the Coast Guard.

Overseeing – literally – the skimming efforts starting today is an old technology: a blimp. Deemed more cost effective at reconaissance than helicopters or fixed-wing air craft, the U.S. Navy blimp will guide skimming efforts.


From 2006–2014, Terry was managing editor for Earthjustice's blog, online monthly newsletter and print Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.