Tuesday, May 04, 2010

could it be any worse

The massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is finally reaching the shores of the Gulf Coast, in what many have called the worst environmental disaster since the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Not only does it have the potential to threaten hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife in the area, but more importantly the livelihood of many who make a living fishing in the nation's richest seafood region.

More than 200,000 gallons of oil a day have been spewing into the ocean since British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the Louisiana coast last week. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that BP, is "the responsible party" according to U.S. law and is "required to fund the cost of cleanup operations." In fact, in a letter sent last year to the Department of the Interior, the oil giant objected to what it described as "extensive, prescriptive regulations" proposed for more rigorous safety standards stating. "We believe [the] industry's current safety and environmental statistics demonstrate that the voluntary programs … continue to be very successful."

Last year, BP made more than 40 billion in profits yet paid no taxes in the United States.

This oil spil could not have come at a more significant time given that just a few weeks ago President Obama asked Congress to lift a drilling ban in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 125 miles from Florida beaches and called for new offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean from Delaware to central Florida.

President Barack Obama has pledged "every single available resource" to deal with the situation and called the leak a "spill of national significance,"

The real threat is to thousands of independent African American and small businesses in the region that make a living via fishing and tourism. If there is a significant reduction in the oyster, shrimp and fish populations, which has been in decline anyway over the past decade, it may signal an end to the livlihoods of many.

In Louisiana for example, 12 percent of all businesses are owned by African Americans with coastal cities like Baton Rouge having 17 percent black-owned business, most in the fishing and tourism industries. The same can be said of Mobile, Ala., where 14.8 percent of business are black-owned compared to 9 percent for the state of Alabama. If this problem is not under control soon, many family owned and small African American businesses in the Gulf region may not survive.


Clifton said...

I'm sitting in New Orleans watching these helpless fishermen do whatever they can to stop the oil from spreading but the worst part about it is that BP hasn't closed the leak yet. I'm really afraid they are going to do something out of desperation that's going to make it worse.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

This is an environmental disaster of epic proportions that is only in the early stage. I can still barely put words to my feelings about this.

Ms. TDB said...

Once again an informative post. There has been minium coverage of what the effects of this spill will do to the businesses. The collateral damage of this spill can and will reach the entire country. It seems like BP was allowed to take a dump on the US and they can get back to London just in time for tea.

Philip at Thavage said...

While an oil spill is always bad, this is horrendous and both our government and BP need to address it now. Pointing the finger at BP misses the point and increases the danger to our environment, businesses and food supplies. Remember the ocean is really another type of farmland and is used more and more this way each year.

Monroe Anderson said...

Right now, BP is busy buying off the fishermen with $5000 checks. Talk about an evil empire.

Faith Bravo said...

Dr. Stephens:
I'm a freelance with the NY Times and I'm looking for an African American owned business to do a photo essay about how this Gulf disaster has affecting their personal and professional lives! Any suggestions? Thanks a lot!

~Dr. Cheers

Tia's Real Talk said...

Hey Dawg...long time no hear!!! Yes it is a sad situation, but I'm hopeful that we can stop the spread. I'm with a company called evolvhealth LLC and we have an ingredient with 15 yr research at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Dallas. It's called Archaea Active. It was used for the gold spill before and now we are using it again! Doing all we can!! We have currently started a new healthy bottled water off the ingredient. Check it out..
www.evolvwithme.net Hope to see you around sometimes.

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