Apr 30, 2010

Spill Massive Spill

The BP oil spill off the Louisiana coast is absolutely devastating. I hope McCain, Palin, Chuck Norris et al are feeling the searing pain of shame for their unforgivably ignorant 'drill baby drill' campaign. It sounds like Obama might have felt some shame for lifting the moratorium on new offshore wells. He decided this morning to put it back in place - for now.

That summer 2008 campaign for offshore drilling - which never ended - included lies such as the assertion that there were no oil spills in the Gulf during Hurricane Katrina. Bullshit. Anyone with a search engine can debunk this lie. We hear endless cooing about the safety and technology of offshore drilling. We're told that oil spills are rare events. The meteor that took out the dinosaurs was rare too, so I'm thinking the endangered species of the Gulf Coast would prefer that we don't chance their lives in these unavoidable ways. I'm sure that the people working to conserve the wetlands of the Gulf are equally devastated and scared.

Though shrimping is very destructive business, I was thrilled to hear that 2 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Gulf shrimpers. That is a cultural tradition in the area. Family businesses are likely to be ruined. I'm not concerned about the losses of big trawlers who operate on the same short sighted timescale as BP. Their unsustainable trawling would eventually kill the shrimp, other sea life, and the future of shrimping.

Trawlers shouldn't make money by destroying ecosystems and rare species like the Kemp ridley sea turtle. However, their economic influence is locally important and should be considered when weighing the risks of other capitalist crap shoots like off-shore drilling.  As should the viability of small businesses dependent on the Mississippi River for shipping. The impacts of this spill will reach significantly farther than the Gulf Coast.

The argument for more oil is always economic, but these 'rare' events are not fucking worth the risk! We will never account for the losses in biodiversity. How will we monitor and financially account for wetland loss or delays in wetland restoration as relates to future storm buffering?

My family is planning a vacation in to weeks on Dauphin Island, which is 3 hours east of New Orleans in Alabama. I've been waiting to hear back about a really great job so my plans aren't firm. Oddly, I'm even more keen to go now that there might be a need for volunteers. I just signed up to get on the volunteer list with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. If you're in the area and know of good organizations to work with, or those which have upcoming trainings, please pass that info along.


Beth! said...

it might be helpful to check in with the marine institute on Dauphin Island - http://www.disl.org/ - they might be coordinating a spill response, and they should have appropriate recommendations for clean-ups in the area.

I am so bummed about this.

rachel kesel said...

Hey Beth!,
My folks wisely cancelled the trip. I'm going to try to wrap up my current contract in hopes of going down several weeks. I'd like to get HAZWOPER training here. Such a mess.

I read a great piece about Dauphin Island Sea Lab yesterday. Alabama is working hard to prepare.
I'm also reading the blog of Oiled Wildlife Care Network. http://owcnblog.wordpress.com/

Beth! said...

also check this group out: http://www.oilspillvolunteers.com/