The estimate of the cleanup bill for BP(and the off shore drilling company that administered the sunken platform)to arrest and mitigate this once in a lifetime disaster in the gulf is close to $1 billion provided it is arrested soon.
BUT what is the cost of the death of wildlife, not edible wildlife such as prawns or tuna or crabs but just your average gull or pelican or trout or snail that lives it's life in the swamps of the Mississippi delta without ever hurting or drawing the attention of man but is so important to what makes Earth different from Mars.
That's the problem. Our current accounting systems do not account for the destruction of wildlife by man made causes. The cost of the cleanup to an area or a group of select wildlife can be accounted for but not the total assault on the ecosystem.
We really need to come up with a "Man made disaster wildlife destruction fee" that in the case of the current BP disaster would surely approach $1billion. This would certainly awaken companies such as BP to check and recheck and recheck so that disasters such as this would never happen.
Face it Man get's off too easy in the way it treats non humanity and if Man was truly as beneficent as it feels it is, Man would penalize Man severely for damaging the lives of the non Man it does not consume as food.