It's easy to make fun of these guys - and that's exactly what the mass media is doing (to the extent that they're paying any attention to them at all.)
But here's the reality:
1) Hay was used successfully to sop up a major oil spill off of Santa Barbara in 1969
2) At a minimum, it can use used to help clean up the beaches
3) Hay is non-toxic, bio-degradable, renewable, and in good supply
1) What exactly is the substance BP is currently spreading to "bind with the crude and sink it"
2) Is it biologically safe?
3) What does it cost? Who makes it?
Here are some answers from the New York Times:
"So far, BP has told federal agencies that it has applied more than 400,000 gallons of a dispersant sold under the trade name Corexit and manufactured by Nalco Co., a company that was once part of Exxon Mobil Corp. and whose current leadership includes executives at both BP and Exxon.
Another 805,000 gallons of Corexit are on order, the company said, with the possibility that hundreds of thousands of more gallons may be needed if the well continues spewing oil for weeks or months.
But according to EPA data, Corexit ranks far above dispersants made by competitors in toxicity and far below them in effectiveness in handling southern Louisiana crude.
Of 18 dispersants whose use EPA has approved, 12 were found to be more effective on southern Louisiana crude than Corexit, EPA data show."