It is too early to be overly optimistic, to answer the headline's question, but reports are starting to bubble up that the Gulf and its wetlands might just have gotten lucky with the BP spill.
Lucky in that the results don't seem to be coming close to the worst-case scenarios sketched out while the river of oil was flowing, at least.
The New York Times is the latest to weigh in, saying scientists are increasingly feeling better about the Gulf's chances.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
[Y]et as the weeks pass, evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring.
While its findings were disputed by some, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported several weeks ago that the oil was breaking down and dispersing rapidly, probably limiting future damage from the spill.
And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared -- less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.
Hey, we take our good news wherever we can find it, and in whatever doses we can.
Other reports say that while the surface damage might not seem as bad, the seafloor is getting the brunt of the damage.
So no one's declaring this thing over yet. But maybe it could have been a whole lot worse.