Rush Limbaugh took to his radio show today to claim that the Gulf oil spill is really no big deal because, “More oil is spilled every year in Africa, in Nigeria, than so far in the Gulf, so it’s not unique. It’s not exceptional. It’s not the largest….So yes, it’s a disaster. It’s not the worst of its kind.” How much BP stock does Limbaugh own, anyway?
Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:
After blaming the media and Obama for turning up the panic about the Gulf oil spill/leak, Rush Limbaugh claimed that this was all really no big deal. He delivered the talking point that the Earth is capable of rejuvenation, and that oil is natural. He said, “We’re not gonna die from this. The Gulf is going to recover from this, so will the Gulf Coast. It will recover. Prince William Sound has recovered. With our help, we can speed it up. If we didn’t do anything it would recover. It might take a lot of years, but it would recover. The Earth is an amazing thing.”
He continued, “Now I am not suggesting anything other than trying to present you a fact. More oil spilled every year in Africa, in Nigeria, than so far in the Gulf, so it’s not unique. It’s not exceptional. It’s not the largest. Mexico had a spill that larger than this, nobody talks about except apparently me, Ixtoc I went on for nine months, and everybody’s still there where that oil spill happened.” After rambling about global warming and environmentalists, Limbaugh concluded, “Yeah, its bad. Yeah, it’s a disaster. It’s not the worst of its kind.”
I wonder how much BP stock Limbaugh owns, because he was really trying hard to downplay the current spill in the Gulf. Limbaugh’s claim about Nigeria while factually true, left out some details according to The Guardian UK, “Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. “We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots,” said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. “This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months.””
Limbaugh also didn’t mention that the area is ruined due to leaks and spills, “That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.”
According to recent article in theSeattle Times, while nine species have recovered from the oil spill, “But pockets of oil — an estimated 16,000 gallons, according to federal researchers — remain buried in small portions of the intertidal zone hard hit by the spill. Seven distinct species, including sea otters, killer whales and clams, still are considered to be “recovering” from the initial effects of the oil.” At best, Prince William Sound could be described as ecology in transition. It is definitely not as recovered as Limbaugh claimed it to be.
The Ixtoc I oil spill occurred in 1979 and it a bit of different case. It took ten and a half months for 3.3 million barrels to spew. At its current pace, the Deepwater Horizon spill will exceed this amount in about 4-5 months. The Ixtoc spill happened at 160 feet, and was accessible to divers, but most importantly, the Deepwater Horizon spill is different, because it has the additional variable of trying to save wetlands along with sea life. Limbaugh’s attempt to minimize the current Gulf spill was so full of half truths that it doesn’t stand up to casual examination. In fact, Limbaugh’s claims only help to reinforce the idea that the Deepwater Horizon leak is a big deal, a very big deal.