Researchers at the University of Georgia said Monday that more than three-quarters of the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon drilling-rig explosion could still be in the Gulf threatening fisheries and marine life, disputing government statements that much of the oil had been safely dispersed.
The federal National Incident Command, which has been coordinating clean-up efforts, reported earlier this month that the damaged well had spewed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf before it was capped. Half of that oil had been safely burned off, skimmed, or directly recovered and another 25% had evaporated or dissolved, the federal researchers said.
Both the UGA assessment and the federal calculations it contradicts are estimates based on incomplete information. Federal researchers cautioned that their results would be refined as better information became available.
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