An Oil Spill Solution: Burn, Baby, Burn

by Bill Chameides | June 18th, 2010
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

Permalink | 2 comments

To prevent the spread of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the U.S. Coast Guard, BP, and other U.S. agencies are conducting controlled burns like this one in the Gulf of Mexico on May 5, 2010. (

BP is conducting controlled burns in an effort to control the oil spill.

The oil spill has got us between a rock and a bunch of hard places — there are no good solutions, just the lessers of a bunch of evils.

Cleaning oiled birds? Too little, too late.

Sand berms? Could be a waste of good sand.

Dispersants? Maybe too toxic.

And controlled burns? Well, so far as of June 16, more than 200 in-situ burns have been used to contain almost 5.2 million gallons of oil, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Is that a problem? Take a look at the black plumes of the fires clouding the Gulf of Mexico in the video and photos from CNN and CBS and you be the judge. (Photo #14 in this gallery from the Washington Post is a great still shot of the burns.)

filed under: faculty, oil
and: , , , , , ,


All comments are moderated and limited to 275 words. Your e-mail address is never displayed. Read our Comment Guidelines for more details.

  1. Lee E. Faber
    Jun 20, 2010

    “Cleaning oiled birds? Too little, too late.” Huh? That may well be the case but: 1. At least they are trying 2. We should support, promote and cheer on those who are actually doing something.

    • Bill Chameides
      Jun 25, 2010

      Lee: point well taken.

©2015 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff