UT researcher worries BP's oil cap won't work

UT researcher worries BP's oil cap won't work

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By DENAE D'ARCY
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A University of Tennessee professor and internationally recognized disaster expert has doubts BP's new oil cap in the Gulf will work.

BP officials hope the cap will slow or even stop the flow of oil. A much smaller stream of oil was leaking on Tuesday.

Dr. Gregory Button, an assistant professor who teaches courses on disasters and environmental health, says the spill will affect generations of culture in the area and may wipe out shrimp completely.

Button also acts as an informal adviser to Senate committees investigating the spill.

He says one indirect effect of disasters is a rise in crime. "There was a sharp rise in social problems such as DWI, divorce, domestic violence, separation, all kinds of things to show it had an impact on the local population."

His outlook for the Gulf is grim. "I'm not a marine biologist, but one of the major concerns about that not only would it affect the shrimp industry and local economy, it could affect the entire food chain."

When asked when the Gulf could be back to normal, Dr. Button said, "That centers around scientific uncertainties and we have to take a wait and see attitude."

The oil industry claims it can remove 25 percent of the oil from the environment, but independent researchers estimate it's closer to 10 percent.

Dr. Button has studied other disasters including Love Canal, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.

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