The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been spreading steadily and at a much greater rate than earlier determined. Like the Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska, it is devastating to the affected marine ecosystems and has the potential to get much worse. For clean ocean and anti-drilling advocates, it represents the worst-case scenario they have been warning about.
Now that the damage has been done, all that’s left is to contain it from affecting the shoreline and estuary systems of the gulf coast. In that effort, the federal government is deploying its resources in concert with British Petroleum, owners of the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded and sank.
The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the agencies taking the lead in containment, but there is another agency involved that is playing a vital role, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its main task is to protect coastal and marine resources and provide comprehensive solutions to environmental hazards caused by oil, chemical, and marine debris.