Greenpeace Questions Government Findings On Oil Spill

It has protested whaling in the Southern Ocean, chased off people illegally fishing for the Patagonian toothfish and studied climate change in the Arctic. Now the Arctic Sunrise, a 165-foot-long icebreaker owned by Greenpeace, is heading out to sea for nearly three months to study the wide-ranging effects that 172 million gallons of oil has on the Gulf of Mexico. It will depart from St. Petersburg's port early Thursday. At a news conference this morning deep in the ship's steamy hull, some of those going on the mission said they don't buy the government's position that the majority of the oil has been recovered. "The oil is there. It's not just gone," said Paul Horsman, a marine biologist and oil expert who has studied spills around the world. "The fact is we don't know where it is". Jo Billups, a music teacher from Orange Beach, Ala., who attended the news conference, said oil was washing up there as recently as this past weekend. "I'll go out on a limb and say I think they'll find oil," she said. "I can go home and find it". Billups, who lived in Pensacola for 20 years before moving to Alabama, said the oil disaster has been horrifying to watch. "It's been traumatic to watch our way of life be destroyed," she said. Billups, Horsman and others sat in front of poster-sized color photographs of oil-stained coastline. In one photograph, two Greenpeace volunteers held up a sign that was a takeoff of the BP logo with a sign that said "Beyond Petroleum". Scientists will monitor sponges in the Florida Keys to see if traces of oil and dispersants have passed through them. Researchers will study blue crab larvae and check for new dead zones well below the surface of the Gulf. And they will board a helicopter to try to see if the number of dolphins, turtles and whales is what it should be. "This isn't going to kill the Gulf, but there is little question that we are going to be feeling the effects of this spill for decades,'' said John Hocevar, a marine biologist and oceans