I learned something today that just blew me away in its simplicity and effectiveness. There is a charity in San Francisco which accepts donated hair from salons, fur from pet groomers, and nylons... and turns them into mats and booms to soak up oil.
Apparently hair under a microscope looks like the trunk of a palm street, and is very absorbant. A hairdresser came up with the idea during the Exxon Valdez spill when he saw otters coated in oil in the water, but the water immediately around the animals was clear because their fur had soaked up the oil.
I talked to a hair salon owner, and to a grooming shop who want to do this. All it will cost them is the shipping of the hair/fur. I think its so cool that the fur, especially, will go to help other animals in the gulf. The site, by the way, is Matteroftrust.org.