Does Good News in the Gulf Change Oil Spill Politics?
Government officials are expected to announce today that the situation in the Gulf of Mexico may not be as dire as scientists once predicted. According to The New York Times:
The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.
This is the latest bit of good news coming out of the Gulf in recent days: EPA downplayed the toxicity of chemical dispersants used in the spill cleanup, and BP announced that its Macondo well has reached “static condition.” But does this good news undercut the gravity of the situation in the Gulf? Does it put less pressure on lawmakers to pass oil spill response legislation — especially after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) punted yesterday on passing a bill before the August recess?
My guess is this won’t change much as far as politics goes. In the end, the spill still happened, so the need to pass drilling reform legislation is still there. At the same time, a number of other issues, including an upcoming battle over compensating victims of the spill, are likely to take center stage in the coming months.