Gulf Oil Spill: Day 29

May 18, 2010· 1 MIN READ

For 15 years, Kevin Costner has been backing a team of scientists who have been developing a centrifugal device that separates water from oil, and earlier today the method got approval from BP to be used in the Gulf. Yes, it's that desperate of a situation. And yes, BP was that ill-prepared. But back to Costner's plan: the device separates large volumes of water and oil at a fast rate—up to 210,000 gallons per day.

The federal government announced more closures today, and the total of the Gulf waters closed to fishing is now 19 percent. Tar balls hit the shores of the Florida Keys, yet the U.S. Coast Guard refuses to say whether they are from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Uh, ok. From the Herald-Tribune:

Oil now traveling south through the swift Loop Current is expected to sweep past the Keys within the next eight to 10 days. Some of that oil could get blown ashore in the same areas where tar balls were found this week. [...] The oil threatens the pristine beaches of the Dry Tortugas, the third largest coral reef in the world, a vital fishing industry and unknown numbers of dolphins, whales, sea turtles, sea birds and other creatures that could die and sink out of sight in deep sea.

More unfortunate news for the sea turtles: of the 156 dead turtles that have washed ashore since April 30—10 days after explosions rocked the Deepwater Horizon—the majority have been Kemp's ridley turtles, an endangered species that suffered greatly in the wake of the last Gulf of Mexico spill in 1979. It's worth noting that the deaths have not been directly attributed to the BP oil spill, but the rate of death is significantly higher than previous years.