|Update on Gulf oil spill on two-year anniversary:
BP has run a lot of ads saying the Gulf is oil-free and back to normal now after the disastrous BP oil spill in April 2010. Things ARE back to normal for BP itself. In 2011, BP reported its highest profit ever of $25.7 billion. For the oil companies, it IS business as usual in the Gulf. In 2010 there were 103 oil rigs operating in the Gulf, with 37 rigs in deep water. Today there are 113 oil rigs operating in the Gulf, with 40 now in deep water.
However, things are not so rosy for the fishermen and communities along the Gulf. Many of the areas that were closed to fishing by the government after the oil spill have been found to be devoid of the seafood they once produced and unsuitable for new spawning now that these areas are reopen. In both Louisiana and Mississippi, oyster harvesting has collapsed. In 2010 the harvest of oysters was down 55 percent in LA and 34 percent in MS from 2009, and even worse numbers are expected for the final 2011 totals once they become available. In 2010, the shrimp crop declined by 52 percent in MS, 48 percent in Alabama, and 14 percent in LA. As of September 2011 the shrimp crop was down by 80 percent from the Gulf. The Gulf crab harvest declined by 42 percent in LA, 37 percent in AL, and 33 percent in MS from 2009 to 2010. Back to normal? Gulf fishermen of oysters, shrimp, and crab are all still hurting.
The diversity and numbers of different fish species have also declined due to the oil spill.
The fish have many more numerous secondary infections, with lesions found on their skin and in their liver, plus the incidence of parasitic infections in the fish is much higher than normal. At some Gulf fishing sites, 50 percent of the fish have lesions and sores.
In February 2011 (during the first calving season for dolphins since the oil spill), dozens of dead baby dolphins and aborted dolphin fetuses washed ashore on Gulf beaches. The normal death rate before 2010 was just one or two deaths a season.
BP oil is still found floating in the Gulf and washing ashore as tar balls and ‘tar logs’ (formed from oil settled and coating the ocean bottom rolling along the sea bottom to form ‘logs’). One has merely to look for it to find BP oil still polluting the Gulf shores.
BP oil settled to coat large areas of the ocean bottom.
Despite all the ads BP may run, the Gulf coast is not back to normal. Far from normal, the Gulf still suffers from the disastrous effects of the 2010 BP oil spill … while BP itself prospers as never before.
SOURCE: “BP Oil Spill Still Tars the Gulf” by Antonia Juhasz, pages 21 – 25, The Progressive, vol.76, # 4, April, 2012 issue.
Back in 2010 while the oil spill was still ongoing, I wrote a poem about the disaster: