Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Weak Leak

If it’s remotely possible, let’s inject some sanity into the oil leak that’s stopped the world from spinning. In 1991, as Saddam Hussein’s forces retreated from Kuwait, they dumped 8 million barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf. That still stands as the biggest oil spill in history. So, what were the lasting catastrophic effects? According to this New York Times article, written just two years later, there were none:

The vast amount of oil that Iraqi occupation forces in Kuwait dumped into the Persian Gulf during the 1991 war did little long-term damage, international researchers say. …

“Given the phenomenal quantities of oil that were spilled into the Gulf, the results were rather cheering,” Chidi Ibe, of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at Unesco, said in a statement today.

Coral reefs studied in early 1992 “appeared to be in good condition,” while fisheries showed “few unequivocal oil pollution effects attributable solely to the 1991 oil spills,” the study found.

Even if you take the highest estimates, the current spill would have to last for nearly a year before it did that kind of nonexistent ecological damage.



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