"The oil is out there and it's out there to stay," said Lisa Suatoni, a marine biologist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"There's a dismal record of cleanup associated with oil spills.
Generally less than one percent of spilled oil is ever cleaned up."
Even in the case of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill - where billions were spent in a years-long effort to sop up the oil from a rocky and sandy shore and skim it off the relatively calm waters of Prince William Sound - only about seven to 10 percent of the oil was actually recovered, Suatoni said.
While a significant percentage of the Valdez oil was dispersed by natural processes, the shoreline is still littered with pockets of oil which sank into low-oxygen areas where its toxicity was preserved.
Which means every time an animal burrows in the wrong place or a big storm shifts things around on the beach more oil can bubble up.
The very nature of the Gulf of Mexico spill makes significant recovery impossible, said T