Friday, April 30, 2010

Disaster in the Gulf


Brown Pelican, originally uploaded by Vesuvianite.
The Brown Pelican, recently removed from the endangered species list, is only one of many birds found along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. As we speak, 5,000 gallons of oil per day are spilling into the waters and heading towards Louisianna. I had planned to visit several of the National Wildlife Refuges near Lake Charles in a few weeks. By the end of this weekend they will be a black, gooey mess.

Will the oil eventually make it's way to Texas beaches? I remember as a child all the restaurants and gift shops required customers to remove the tar from their feet before entering. After all the progress we've made cleaning the beach, are we going to see that again in our near future? What about Gulf shrimp? The fishing industry?

Words cannot express the anger and sadness I feel.

31 comments:

Brian Miller said...

it is hard to imagine the damage this is going to reek....

blueviolet said...

It's breaking my heart!

John McElveen said...

Thanks! Thanks! Thanks for remembering and feeling!

I had to post about it too!

I lived on the Gulf Coast of Fla. and to think of all those people in La.

Almost crying...not so sure I won't!

Great stuff,

John

Unknown Mami said...

Very sad!

jack69 said...

Here is hoping that the worst will not happen. I know there is a real possibility but I sure hope most of it can be corralled.
Enjoy the weekend, and hope for the best. We do not need another disaster.

Myne Whitman said...

I hear the military has been sent in to help tackle the spill. Hopefully it won't be so bad though my heart already breaks for what damage has already been done.

Alice in Wonderland said...

This is just totally tragic, but I've just heard that a hurricane is heading that way too, so with a bit of luck, it may well disperse the oil, but it is still a total tragedy.
Thoughts are with you.

Jen said...

@Brian Miller: Unfortunately, we won't have to imagine...we're going to be witnesses.

@blueviolet: They showed the first bird that had to be washed and fed Pepto Bismol. It broke my heart, too.

@John McElveen: I'm pretty sure I'll be sobbing right along with you.

@Unknown Mami: Devastating! Emotionally and physically.

@jack69: The booms are failing to contain the spill because of the swells. All we can do is pray for a miracle.

@Myne Whitman: I think the military is only being sent to make us feel better. I can't imagine what they'll be able to do. Shooting at the oil won't help.

@Alice in Wonderland: No! The storm surge from a hurricane would carry the oil further inland and destroy more habitat. Fortunately, hurricane season doesn't start until June 1. The water is not yet warm enough to fuel a major hurricane.

Tempo said...

These huge companies make obscene profits but when theres a spill they rave about 'doing the best we can' and 'act of god' bullshirt. They should pay every single cent for the damage they do.
Recently weve had an oil rig disaster just like this one off the coast of Western Australia and a grounding on the Great Barrier Reef where no ship is allowed to be...they just dont care so long as theres profit to be made

Jen said...

@Tempo: They've already weighed potential fines against profit and don't care. I say send the CEO's to the site with a bucket of mops and tell them, "Don't come back until the job is done!"

Vince said...

And BP are saying that it will be 60-90 days before they have the submersible in place. This when they are measuring the slick in terms of large Island Nations. Last, it was Jamaica, next it will be Hispaniola, and in 30 days at 50,000 gal of tar per Diem we are speaking about fucking Greenland.
I truly thought that after the Esso Valdez in Mcmurdo Sound that we had put all this shit well behind us.
The federal Gov' had better get it's act in gear and not just for the clean up but also in attaching the assets of BP before they are dissipated. Lloyd's no longer cover the effects of such large spills anymore, so it was left up to the companies themselves to make things totally safe. Except of course where national governments indemnify such shortcuts. Which is a very distinct possibility.

Rob Strickland said...

Having worked in Valdez Alaska the summer of 1989 it would be easy for me to say the oil company was at fault, and blame them for what happened there 21 years ago, what happened the Gulf last month and what is going to happen in the Gulf in the next few weeks.

The way they do business will kill a bunch a wildlife, affect if not wipe out a bunch of livelihoods and cost them a few billion dollars just like it did in Alaska.

However, having aged 21 years since that summer in Alaska and gained perspective in that time, it would be hypocritical of me or anyone else who uses petroleum products not to take some of the blame for what happened there and in the Gulf.

It is a fact that more could have been done to prevent and minimize the rig blowout. It's a tragedy that mankind made happen because of the way our world is built on oil and I've yet to see any assurance whatsoever that anything will be done anytime soon to stop it from happening again.

That rig was there because the way we live made it necessary. It's not that far from where I live and I am one of the people who benefited from it being there.

So think about that beautiful pristine beach at the Bon Secour NWR that we visited last summer (and I took my kids to see last month) the next time you spend money to put gas in your car. The place was set aside for nature because people tried to do the right thing; the place will probably be brownish-black next time I see it because people still haven't done the right thing when it comes to big oil.

Minka said...

It's just incomprehesible - that people who can foresee the possibility of something like that, still let it happen! And oil companies make profit out of that oil and everybody else pays the price of this disaster. I really don't have much to say - I think we all think the same thoughts when we see the pictures - no words needed.

Eternally Distracted said...

It is so so so sad...

sage said...

This is tragic and, as the writer above says, so sad

LL Cool Joe said...

It's so tragic, what a mess, in more ways than one. Thanks for bring in this to everyones attention too, I think sometimes in blogland, major world events go on we talk about what we had for dinner. Me included. :D

....Petty Witter said...

So tragic to see such majestic birds so helpless. Mankind has a lot to answer for.

Kelly said...

I thought Rob's comment was very good. We can all feel bad about what happened, yet we all rely on petroleum products in many more ways than we realize. (not just powering our vehicles) There's no quick fix (for our dependency), but we sure need to start taking alternate forms of energy more seriously (as in how to make them cost efficient and more readily available to the masses). Sadly, there's doesn't seem to be a quick fix for this oil spill, either.

buffalodick said...

Tragic, but it happened..time to get busy, and clean this up as quickly as possible!

Jen said...

@Vince: If they don't indemnify it's clear they at least turn a blind eye.

@Rob: I call bullshit. We don't have to put up with this and we don't have to stop driving our cars.

@Minka: BP does not have a good safety record and this is not an isolated incident. In 2005 there was an explosion in Texas City that killed 15 people. They tried to point fingers and cover up what really happened. They IGNORED warnings that there were serious safety issues.

@Eternally Distracted and sage: Tragic, sad, and CRIMINAL.

@LL Cool Joe: I prefer to remain nonpolitical as well, but there are one or two issues that I am passionate about. It's one thing to accept that there will be accidents from time to time. This is far beyond the scope of what we should tolerate.

@Petty Witter: They are migrating and nesting. I'm afraid of what this will do to their populations.

@Kelly: I will do my part to use less, but the full blame for a disaster this size lies solely with BP and we should not let them divert it elsewhere.

@buffalodick: I'm considering going ahead with my trip as a volunteer instead of a tourist.

Jingle said...

Jen:

pollution is serious problem,
thank you for the highlight.

Jingle said...

Happy May!
Your post rocks!

deb said...

This breaks my heart.

Jen said...

@deb: Mine, too. I'm watching a black mass descend upon one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen.

alady's life said...

Ya they should have to pay to clean it up and people need to get up there fast to wash the birds etc...
We are also particular about our environment.
If it isn't an oil rig it is something to do with ships leaking.
Oil is a dirty business.I'd like to see more windmills and solar power and less nuclear plants.New houses and apartments should
be built with new technologies as should older reno buildings.

Jen said...

@a lady's life: I don't know why all new construction isn't built with solar panels. Some neighborhoods actually forbid residents to install them. I think I may write my Congressman about that.

Michelle Pixie said...

A very, very sad thing. I am so glad you wrote this.

Heather said...

It is a very sad situation and very costly, not only to the oil company and the goverment but to some of my friends who are in that area and are already feeling the effects on their businesses.

Jen said...

@Michelle: I look forward to the day I can write that the leak has been plugged and the mess is cleaned up.

@Heather: Some have already lost jobs or been told they can't fish. BP needs to pay fishermen for lost wages.

Rebecca S. said...

Yes, I can't imagine what havoc all that oil is going to wreak when it hits land, or how the company is going to deal with it. The newspeople are telling us the shipping involved shortcuts - history repeats itself. When will we ever learn?

Jen said...

@Rebecca S.: This was preventable! That's what is so disheartening. So far it looks like people are working hard to minimize the damage. Maybe it won't be as bad as I first thought.

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