A coalition of Gulf Coast environmental groups said in a recent report that last year’s oil spill is still a “developing disaster.” The groups called on government officials to reinstate a moratorium on new deepwater drilling and rethink claims that Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe to eat. The report from the Waterkeeper Alliance said:
Across the Gulf Coast, oil continues to wash ashore along beaches and wetlands. Local and state economies and household budgets are still suffering, and health impacts, potentially from exposure to the mixture of crude oil and toxic dispersant, are being reported.
In addition to criticizing BP, the majority owner of the Macondo well, the report questioned certain parts of the federal government’s response. The report was produced jointly by Mobile Baykeeper, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Louisiana Bayoukeeper and four other Waterkeeper groups, from Seabrook, Texas, to Apalachicola, Fla. Some government and business leaders have maintained that the spill’s environmental effects were minimal and have largely been addressed. That is simply not a correct assessment of the situation. It’s even more surprising that some in the scienctific community have questioned the severity of the spill. That really makes me wonder what’s going on. Clearly, environmental advocates came to a very different and I believe proper conclusion in the report.
The report also reminds us that oil continues to hit shorelines along the Gulf Coast. That is occurring even though there hasn’t been a hurricane that would have resulted in oil coming ashore. We need to address the problem and fix it –not hide it. Mobile Baykeeper’s executive director, Casi Callaway, said she believes strongly that the problems must be addressed and solutions found.
The report said officials should continue to study the spill and its impact well into the future, pointing out that the effects of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska have continued for decades. The report listed a number of health problems that fishermen suffered in the wake of the spill and continue to experience, including severe headaches, vomiting and nausea, fatigue and difficulty breathing. “At the time of this writing, Gulf Coast communities remain without adequate diagnosis or treatment for these health concerns,” the report said.
As we have reported on numerous occasions, BP has continually attempted to minimize the spill and its effects. The report said that throughout most of 2010 and 2011, “it has been evident that BP is running a public relations campaign, more than a recovery effort.” That is absolutely true and I must say BP is very good at public relations and it has spent hundreds of millions in that arena.
Many along the coast are saying, “Thank goodness for the court system.” If it weren’t for the litigation relating to the oil spill and its aftermath, folks and businesses in all of the Gulf Coast states would be largely “up the creek without a paddle.” I am convinced that because of the MDL in New Orleans – and a tough and fair judge in charge – justice will be done and hopefully soon. But let there be no doubt that justice must include the payment of total damages to all who have been hurt and damaged as a result of the wrongdoing by BP and the other corporate Defendants.
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