Local Scientists Use Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill For Learning Opportunity

The BP oil spill brought countless negative effects to the Gulf Coast, but local scientists are using it as a learning opportunity in case an accident as big as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill ever occurs again.
News 25’s Shelby Myers spoke with scientists and a wild life director on what is going on in Coast waters five years after the spill.
Just over five years has passed since millions of gallons of crude oil spewed into the Gulf waters and for many Gulf Coast cities that spill brought lasting negative effects.
So now what is the actual status of our water? Dr. Monty Graham, interim director of the Gulf Coast Laboratory, said “In many ways, recovery is very good. The seafood is safe to eat and there is no residual toxicity in the water to keep people from swimming.”
Dr. Graham along with other local scientists at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory have tried to turn the negativity of the oil spill into positivity for science. “As we go forward in the next year to five years or ten years is to make sure that people are educated about the ecosystem and how the ecosystem responds to things like this,” said Dr. Graham.
After today’s $4.4 million settlement in Gulfport, Dr. Graham hopes the money will be used towards a project that has been in the works for many months now. “The city of Gulfport and their plans for building an aquarium. That’s a great utility of resources coming from the oil spill because it will better educate people and show them what’s going on below the surface,” Dr. Graham said.
Director of Wildlife Care and Rescue Alison Sharpe saved many animals after the spill. She hopes this is also a learning experience for the future. “Should oil spill, no matter if it’s a small one or one of the magnitude of BP, we would like to be in a position where Mississippi, here on the Coast, can be more readily equipped,” said Sharpe.
This week, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, along with other organizations, will begin studying how oil effects near shore waters.

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