Over a year in, and the spill heard round the Gulf remains in its infancy.
Sucks to write it, read it or hear it, but nonetheless it’s the truth.
Sure, a large portion of the oil has been cleaned up and yes, the tourists are coming back. One might head down to the Gulf, take a look at the water and see that everything looks fine, but there are simply too many unknowns under that surface. Hell, twenty-one years later, the impact of the Exxon Valdez is still being determined.
Stuart Smith, a New Orleans attorney, writes:
“The true extent of the spill’s damage is just now beginning to come into view for clean-up workers, commercial fishermen, oil-well workers, charter boat captains, restaurant owners, Gulf Coast denizens and independent scientists studying the effects of the spill – and the fallout becomes more troubling by the day. Independent researchers, like Samantha Joye from the University of Georgia, report that oil coats the Gulf floor where it has decimated deep-water marine life. Residents up and down the Gulf Coast report that tar balls and mats continue to litter their beaches, and re-oilings are common. The multi-billion-dollar Gulf seafood industry is reeling from both small catches and plummeting demand brought on by very real concerns about contamination. Dead dolphins and sea turtles continue to wash ashore at record-breaking rates. Oyster beds have been devastated and are in desperate need of restoration. And perhaps most disturbing of all, increasingly large numbers of clean-up workers and coastal residents are getting sick.”
So it is with this in mind, I continue to be drawn back to British Petroleum’s insistence that future claims payments be stopped, or Kenneth Feinberg’s methodology that has everything rosy in the Gulf by 2013.
Simply put, that’s bullshit.
An oil company, in the Gulf of Mexico, gleaning billions of dollars in profits over the years unleashes the worst environmental disaster on a region and a people. The financial losses were tremendous, as were the fears of a lost culture and way of life, the destruction of family, life savings and the wholesale tragedy in death to wildlife. Equally important and just as devastating is the loss of security and the fear of the unknown. What if I get sick? When will seafood customers return? What happens if a hurricane hits the region, will the oil on the bottom be stirred back to the surface, and what would that mean?
Studies are only beginning, yet an oil company is dead-set on this affair’s end. The toll on life is not yet known, but the man in charge of helping people rebuild their life amps up the scrutiny of claims while the timeline moves and the clock ticks. It’s simply short-sighted and completely wrong. Its public relations in quick pursuit of the best media lie. Its scientific ignorance, because the only thing anyone knows for sure…is nobody knows what is really happening under the surface and what that means for the region’s future.
This irresponsibility must end. Promises made by corporations should mean something because if it’s generally accepted these promises are shit, then everybody loses in the end. I’m of the opinion, and color me emboldened by the fiasco of the Democrat’s debt ceiling cave-in, it just might be time to make corporations pay for their deceit. British Petroleum doesn’t live up to their promises? Okay, then how can we, as a people, make them financially hurt for the big lie? It would appear money, or lack of it, is what they best understand.
Perhaps this is where the debate should be heading, or not.
Don’t know for sure, kind of like when it comes to the healing of the Gulf…how long will it take? Don’t know for sure…nobody does, not BP and not Feinberg, no matter what they might claim.
Have a nice day.