John McCain's bad press run continued today. With Obama's European invasion provoking rock star crowds, McCain tried to schedule a photo op on a Louisiana oil rig only to have Hurricane Dolly intervene. At least that's his campaign's story. According to the Guardian , what really put a stop to the photo op was an oil spill in the Mississippi. Not exactly the best way to draw attention to his plan to save America from foreign oil by planting new rigs along our coastline. After his shameless pandering to gas guzzlers in recent months and a breathtaking, beyond-chutzpah attempt to blame high gas prices on Obama, it's hard to feel sorry for the allegedly straight talking presidential candidate.
The Gulf was also in the news last week because of the predicted record-breaking size the the Gulf of Mexico's "Dead Zone," an area at the mouth of the Mississippi where fertilizer-fueled overgrowths of algae have been having a catastrophic impact on the Gulf's ecology and sealife.
According to Reuters: "The dead zone, which recurs each year off the Texas and Louisiana coasts, could stretch to more than 8,800 square miles this year--about the size of New Jersey--compared with 6,662
square miles in 2006 and nearly double the annual average since 1990 of
4,800 square miles."
The prediction of a large dead zone this summer is due to a
combination of large influx of nitrogen and exceptionally high flows
from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers.
NOAA explains the zone thus: The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico
where seasonal oxygen levels drop too low to support most life in
bottom and near-bottom waters. This low oxygen, or hypoxic, area is
primarily caused by high nutrient levels, which stimulates an
overgrowth of algae that sinks and decomposes. The decomposition
process in turn depletes dissolved oxygen in the water. The dead zone
is of particular concern because it threatens valuable commercial and
recreational Gulf fisheries.