Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Oil Slick Threatens Fishing & Oyster Industries In Gulf

Brown Pelican
The massive oil slick is threatening devastation to fragile wetlands and beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. That entire section of the Gulf is being contaminated and continued leakage could threaten other sections of the Atlantic Ocean. Wildlife and flora in the entire region are at risk. From oysters to seabirds to submerged aquatic vegetation, the Gulf spill provides clear evidence that expanded offshore oil drilling is not justified. The multibillion dollar tourist and fisheries industries in the Gulf have been placed at risk by the operations of the oil drilling sector. NOAA has restricted fishing for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. (More)

According to BP officials 2,000 people are participating in remediation efforts. They were private environmental consultants, paramedics and crews from the state wildlife and fisheries department. The Louisiana Workforce Commission is hiring 500 workers for cleanup and protection operations. Hundreds of fishermen have signed up for a training class, arranged by BP, to transform them into hazmat cleanup and wetlands-protection experts. There is some controversy about BP requiring workers to sign waivers against future litigation by these workers.

President Obama has ordered a moratorium on new drilling projects while the federal government considers new guidelines to prevent future spills.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has asked for federal authority to call up 6,000 National Guard troops to help with the cleanup. Jindal has also asked BP to distribute cleanup tasks to fishermen, whose livelihood is threatened to such an extent that the governor asked for the declaration of a "commercial fisheries failure" to clear the way for financial assistance.

Officials said they have deployed 1,900 federal workers to protect coastal areas and wildlife. The Defense Department is sending two C-130 aircraft to drop oil-dispersing chemicals on the spill. The EPA brought in two mobile labs to test air quality and water quality. (Chicago Tribune, 5/1/2010)

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