Just when the earthquakes and volcanoes start to remind us what the natural world is capable of, mankind shows it still can compete when it comes to disasters. Hurray for humans. About a month ago, I posted the statements from several environmental groups of their opposition to the Obama administration opening formerly protected areas in Alaska and off the East Coast to drilling for oil.
Oh yeah -- and the Gulf of Mexico.
The reasons were varied but among those, all the groups agreed on were threats to the tourism industry, fishing, and marine life. And now all of those entities are facing a dire emergency in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as any water recreation.
On April 20th, an explosion on the Transocean drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico claimed the lives of 11 workers. The owner of the rig, BP fuels claims full responsibility, but the leak is spewing 1,000 barrels of crude oil per day into the Gulf ecosystem.
Obama didn't get down to the region until this week (why does it take so long for presidents to get to disasters in the Gulf?) but has already said there will be no new offshore drilling until the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident is determined and remedied. You can only wonder if Glen Beck is heading down to get oil spots on his Chuck Taylors.
In addition to calm winds and chest to shoulder-high swell on Pensacola's Innerlight Surf Shop daily surf report is the message, "NOAA has predicted that we, the Gulf Coast, could start seeing the effects of the Transocean/BP Oil Spill within 72 hours here on our beaches. Go surf if you can. And take a camera -- who knows what that will do to our beautiful white sand."
More than 400 species are now in peril. Fishermen, who are obviously out of work, have been given contracts and gear by BP to aid in the clean up. The most recent news I've heard is that inmates from Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility are being trained to clean and rescue wildlife taken from impacted areas.
The Surfrider Foundation is keeping a running tally of spillage, which this morning stood at 2,787,706 gallons. They have also issued an action alert. You can go here to tell your federal and national government to restore to moratorium on drilling.
One of the best pieces on the spill I have seen so far has been from Nick McGregor, of Eastern Surf Magazine, whose office sits relatively close to the spill. SurferToday.com is claiming that no one will surf the effected Gulf beaches for months and is calling on surfers to aid in the clean up.