Oil slick too quick as fears rise over impact

OIL from the BP blowout is degrading rapidly in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and becoming increasingly difficult to find on the water surface.”The light crude oil is biodegrading quickly,” the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Jane Lubchenco, said.However, both the near- and long-term environmental effects of the release of several million barrels of oil remained serious and to some extent unpredictable, she said.”The sheer volume of oil that’s out there has to mean there are some pretty significant impacts. What we have yet to determine is the full impact the oil will have not just on the shoreline, not just on wildlife, but beneath the surface.”Her assessment came as the outgoing chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward, caused fresh US anger after he complained he had been ”demonised and vilified” after the disaster.The comments by Mr Hayward, who resigned on Tuesday after his handling of the Gulf of Mexico disaster was heavily criticised, drew renewed criticism from Washington as BP struggled to restore its reputation.”I don’t think that a lot of people in any country are feeling overly sorry for the former CEO of BP,” the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said.Politicians called on BP to renounce any claim for a tax refund following reports it planned to cut its US tax bill by $US9.9 billion ($10.9 billion), about half the amount pledged to aid victims of the disaster, by deducting costs related to it.Mr Hayward’s departure was a drastic move by the oil giant to rebuild its image in the aftermath of the spill, which is set to cost the British group $US32 billion.Mr Hayward was also the target of anger over his decision to snub a US Senate hearing into BP’s alleged role in the release of the Lockerbie bomber.Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, said the hearing, scheduled to take place today, had been postponed after witnesses, including Mr Hayward, had refused to attend.The Washington Post, Agence France-Presse
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