A survey reported in The New York Times finds that even with the oil spill likely contained, residents of the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast are at risk for mental and emotional health problems. The survey, conducted from July 19 to 25 by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, also finds that coastal dwellers do not think local seafood is safe to eat. Gov. Bobby Jindal receives high ratings for trustworthiness, higher than Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour or President Barack Obama.

Also in the NYT: a story that announces the Gulf spill as the largest in the world. The nearly 5 million barrels that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico top the 3.3 million from the 1979 Ixtoc I off the coast of Mexico. Accurate calculations ultimately mean money for clean up and restitution.
As the estimates of the number of barrels spilled increases, so, too, do the penalties under the Clean Water Act, which calls for fines of $1,100 per barrel, or $4,300 per barrel if the government finds that gross negligence led to the spill.

At 4.9 million barrels, that means that the total fine could be $5.4 billion — and, if gross negligence led to the spill, $21 billion. If BP successfully argues that the 800,000 barrels it has recovered should mitigate the penalty, then the figure drops to $4.5 billion and $17.6 billion, respectively.
Meanwhile the Times-Picayune is reporting the annual summer Dead Zone off the coast of Louisiana and Texas is the size of the state of Massachusetts. However, there is no evidence that it has been affected this year by the oil spill, according to the TP.

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