Federally-funded scientists predicted a "larger than average" dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico this year, but said it's unclear what the oil spill's effects on the dead zone will be.
Dead zones are underwater areas where oxygen levels are so depleted that they're inhospitable to most marine life.
When news of the Gulf oil spill first broke, we wondered if previously reported problems at the Minerals Management Service, the agency that regulates offshore drilling, extended to the Gulf.
The Department of the Interior's Office of the Inspector General released a report this morning indicating as much.
Until now, BP hasn't officially updated its 5,000-barrels-a-day estimate of the flow of crude oil into the Gulf. As we've pointed out, the company has said it's too busy trying to stop the spill to measure it. Today, BP made some time to update the public about its effort to siphon up some of the oil that's spewing into the Gulf, announcing that it's now collecting about 5,000 barrels of oil a day through a smaller tube that was inserted into one of two leaks.
A whistleblower filed a lawsuit today to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident that could "dwarf" the company's Deepwater Horizon spill.
Even if the materials, called dispersants, are effective, BP has already bought up more than a third of the world's supply.