Oil Where It Belongs
They interested me because now oil spill combat and remediation is my field of work.
But the position expressed by a good number of commenters left me disturbed. At least a bit.
There are people who seem convinced that, because there are natural seeps of crude oil and there are bacteria able to degrade crude, even gigantic spills are no big deal. A few years and the stuff will be gone, so what's to worry about?
Problem is, the big damage comes from the acute, short-term effects of crude oil. Fish and shrimps are killed or tainted becoming inedible; beaches become covered in oil/tar and unaccessible; coastal vegetation such as mangroves can be destroyed and will take many years to regrow.
Last but not least, power plants and chemical/petrochemical factories near a spillage site may have to shut down because oil-polluted water would foul their heat exchangers.
These are well-known effects and occur in a matter of days after a spillage, and after the damage is done the biodegradation time of spilled oil is a secondary concern.
I understand, really, the frustration with dumb alarmism (like that the Macondo oil spill would destroy all marine life in Gulf of Mexico), but science is not served well by swinging back into minimizing the damage.