Dr. Blumberg optimistic Gulf oil spill won't reach Jersey shore

If you've been following the news you undoubtedly know of the catastrophic oil spill disaster emanating from the gulf coast and leaking millions of gallons of crude oil into the ocean. Uncontained, the spill is already affecting local wildlife, devastating the coastal fishing economies and continuously spreading.

Dr. Alan Blumberg, George Meade Bond Professor & Director of Center for Maritime Systems, recently spoke at the Jersey City walkway overlooking New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty and has been highlighted in both NJ.com and NBCnewyork.com where he offered good news for the state of New Jersey. "Given the best science knowledge to date, I am optimistic that the oil will not reach New Jersey waters," he said.

Top State officials reported that, "the Jersey Shore will be spared any mess from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster until well after the summer beach and fishing seasons in the 'unlikely' event it reaches the North Atlantic."

In the worst-case scenario, remnants of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill would hit New Jersey in October or November, officials said, adding the chances are 'extremely unlikely' but 'possible,' making it imperative that the state plan for an environmental crisis.

"The oil will not affect New Jersey this summer, and it is extremely unlikely that it will affect New Jersey at all," State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin told the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee in Trenton today.

This comes as a huge relief for many of the concerned scientists, state officials and communities who rely on the coastal economy; however, it is not a surefire resolution. "There is a sequence of unlikely oceanic events that could bring the oil to our waters," said Dr. Blumberg, part of a DEP task force formed to monitor the spill.

At risk is a $38 billion tourism industry and $2 billion seafood industry, said Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. To move north, he said, the slick must hit the 'Loop Current' between Florida and Cuba, which would send it into the Gulf Stream and north to Cape Hatteras, N.C. From there, the oil should move east into the Atlantic Ocean, but unexpected mixtures of storms, hurricanes, and warm currents could send diluted oil north.

While no one can know for sure what may happen in regards to how far north the spill will reach, keen insights from experts such as Dr. Blumberg are helping plan ahead and ensure minimal impact if in-fact it does reach the New Jersey coast. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez joined 21 other senators who signed a letter last week urging federal agencies to update and instruct coastal states concerning the spill and just how to handle it.

To view the full article, please visit NJ.com

To learn more about Dr. Blumberg and the research performed at Stevens Institute of Technology that offers unique expertise and insights into this and other maritime issues, please visit the Center for Maritime Systems.