Where Gulf Spill Might Place on the Roll of Disasters

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico - ...

“From the Oval Office the other night, President Obama called the leak in the Gulf of Mexico “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.”

…The motive seems clear. The words signal sympathy for the people of the Gulf Coast, an acknowledgment of the magnitude of their struggle. And if this is really the worst environmental disaster, the wording seems to suggest, maybe people need to cut the government some slack for failing to get it under control right away.

But is the description accurate?

Scholars of environmental history, while expressing sympathy for the people of the gulf, say the assertion is debatable…” (New York Times )