Raining oil? A video purports to show the aftermath of an oily rain that has left a rainbow sheen on the streets of River Ridge, Louisiana. The EPA says that an oily rain is highly unlikely.
Raining oil in Louisiana? An unsettling – and unverified – amateur video shows what appears to be the aftermath of an oily rain in Louisiana, some 45 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.
It's unclear from the video whether the oily sheen seen on the ground really fell from the sky. Crude oil normally doesn't evaporate, but some are speculating that oil mixed with Corexit 9500, the dispersant that BP is using on the ever-growing slick, could take to the air.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued statements saying that the agency "has no data, information or scientific basis that suggests that oil mixed with dispersant could possibly evaporate from the Gulf into the water cycle."
The auto blog Jalopnik dug up a 2003 study that shows that oil on the open ocean could evaporate under the right conditions. And it's unclear how the Corexit 9500 dispersant affects evaporation.
If it were raining Corexit 9500 in River Ridge, that would be very bad news. Calling the dispersant unnecessarily toxic, the EPA has ordered BP to stop spraying it on the slick, an order that the oil company has so far ignored.
Is the video for real? For now, skepticism is warranted. Have a look for yourself: