HDNet's 'Dan Rather Reports' Travels to Louisiana to Examine the Science Behind the Oil Spill

What is going on beneath the surface and how badly can what we don't know hurt us TONIGHT - Tuesday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Jun 22, 2010, 09:38 ET from HDNet

DALLAS, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico has dominated the nation's attention, and everybody wants answers. But one of the striking and frightening realities of this disaster is how little we know.

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Dan Rather traveled to the Gulf to talk to the scientists who are rushing to understand what has become an uncontrolled experiment with dire consequences. Where will all this oil go in the coming weeks and months? How much of it is lurking in giant clouds thousands of feet below the surface? Will it enter the food chain? These are just a few of the countless questions for which there are no good answers. That's because so little is known about the deep ocean where the blowout has spewed millions of gallons of oil and gas. One NASA scientist says the surface of the moon is better understood than the sea floor of the Gulf.

Some of the damage is already obvious in oil-soaked birds and dying wetlands. But scientists worry even more about what they can't see.

"All the media has been focused on the estuaries and the marshes and the oil getting in and the pelicans and the rest of it," says Bob Shipp, a marine scientist who also is involved in fishery management. "But what's not being seen, what's going beneath the surface, that's what's of the greatest concern to me and my colleagues."

Tonight, Rather also sits down with four generations of a fishing family worried about losing their way of life and an award-winning Louisiana photographer who says this is another blow to a region still reeling from Hurricane Katrina.

"Dan Rather Reports" airs TONIGHT, Tuesday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET and will re-air at 11:00 p.m. ET to accommodate West Coast Prime Time.

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