Two news articles about the resumption of fishing off the LA coast: Commercial fishing east of Mississippi River could reopen this week; and another account in Bloomberg News. The decision to resume fishing was supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin. [Thanks to Laura Olson for pointing out these articles.]
On the dark side, today’s NY Times has an article titled Gulf of Mexico Has Long Been a Sink of Pollution, NYT, July 30. Here are some excerpts:
The gulf is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the hemisphere, a stopping point for migratory birds from South America to the Arctic, home to abundant wildlife and natural resources. But like no other American body of water, the gulf bears the environmental consequences of the country’s economic pursuits and appetites, including oil and corn. There are around 4,000 offshore oil and gas platforms and tens of thousands of miles of pipeline in the central and western Gulf of Mexico, where 90 percent of the country’s offshore drilling takes place. At least half a million barrels of oil and drilling fluids had been spilled offshore before the gusher that began after the April 20 explosion, according to government records.
The article then goes on to discuss the latest addition of oil to the waters, saying the Gulf region has been a “sacrifice zone” for the past 50 years. Some additional quotes:
All along the coast, people speak of a lack of regulatory commitment and investment in scientific research on the gulf by state and federal lawmakers.
Some of the strongest resistance to tough regulation, as well as the most permissive attitude toward industry and property development, has come from the Gulf States themselves.
The last line in this article is as follows: “You can fool people, but you cannot fool the fish.”
Another commentary, this one from the environmental community: Deception by dispersal; the great Gulf oil tragedy.
Trust. That’s a feeling severely lacking in the fishing community here. No one trusts anyone after three months of anxiety and depression, watching wave and wave of oil pour into their fishing grounds. They don’t trust BP, the Louisiana fish and wildlife agencies, the EPA or virtually every politician who parades through these communities with false promises and grandstanding accusations. They’ve seen it before during Katrina. Now they’re seeing it again. Some people who are connected are making good money off the misfortune of others. Most are just trying to get by.
Yes, the Gulf is polluted and not pristine but let’s not be distracted that it was so bad that BP and the other drillers cannot make it worse. Just as the US exploits the nation-states of the Western Hemisphere it has allowed the decimation of the Gulf for those who would exploit it. Do we know of any longer term efforts to save the Gulf or is it just a no-man’s land free to be exploited by those who always lead in exploiting the commons? There are elements of suicidal behavior in Southern Louisiana’s failure to protect its heritage; is this the culture the US wants to promote? Why not use the BP catastrophe to begin to protect the Gulf? Oh right that would require vision!