gulf oil spill
Warning: what follows isn’t exactly light reading.
The New York Times reported yesterday on the complicated task of performing necropsies -- i.e., animal autopsies -- on sea turtles and other creatures that have been found dead in the Gulf of Mexico since the spill started.
It’s not easy to determine the cause of death of these creatures. Of the 1,978 birds, 463 turtles and 59 marine mammals found dead in the Gulf since April 20th, few show visible signs of oil contamination.
And in the case of sea turtles, a more familiar culprit may be at fault: shrimp trawls and other commercial fishing gear that scoop up turtles as bycatch and prevent them from going to the surface to breathe.
Here’s a simplified breakdown of how the veterinary investigators begin to determine the cause of death:
From yesterday's Washington Post:
"This economy survives off of seafood and the oil rigs," said Dusty Goforth, 57, of Slidell, La. …"Right now, they've got all of that shut down. It's destroyed the economy down here."
"We go through hurricanes every year. At least a hurricane might wipe out a few things, but at least you can rebuild it. This is gonna be there forever, for years to come." said Louisiana resident Aaron Terrebonne.
From NBC yesterday:
"My first impression is the vastness of the problem," [Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie] Mughelli said [during a recent trip to the Gulf with other professional and Olympic athletes]. "It doesn't look small on TV by any means, but it seems like you can contain it ... and that's not the case at all. Especially when you come out here and look at it and see the oil on the Gulf and see the marsh being eroded and see the birds with black underbellies, you realize it's a lot worse than you think it is."
Yesterday the Obama administration issued a new moratorium on deep-water offshore drilling through Nov. 30 in order to ensure that oil and gas companies implement safety measures to reduce risks.
Oceana’s senior campaign director Jackie Savitz commended the president for the decision in an AP article, and had this to say about it:
“The Administration has no choice but to put a hold on offshore drilling. New drilling poses major risks, which we simply can not take, especially while thousands of victims of the ongoing drilling disaster continue to wait for an end to this oil and gas nightmare.
This week, the characters from the syndicated comic strip, “Daddy’s Home” are spending their summer vacation volunteering to help with the oil spill clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico.
Each day this week the strip’s authors, Tony Rubino and Gary Markstein, suggest a different organization’s website for guidance on how to help. Today, Oceana is featured!
Be sure to check out the rest of the week’s strips; they add a bit of much-needed levity to a seemingly endless disaster.
From today's Washington Post:
"Everything we've ever known is different now," said Chris Garner, a charter-fishing captain who has gone to work in the cleanup. "Anything I ever built, I mean it's gone . . . the business, my client base, the Web site; I mean, it might not as well have been there."
Last week Oceana launched a new bluefin tuna PSA campaign featuring “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier. In March, Grenier joined Oceana to swim with the endangered fish and help get the word out that they are “going fast” -- literally and figuratively.
Bluefin can grow to 15 feet in length, weigh up to 1500 pounds and can swim at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour. They are on the verge of extinction as a result of overfishing, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico further threatens their survival.
The Gulf is the only place where the Western population of Atlantic bluefin tuna reproduces. After the spawning season (April to June), baby tuna continue to swim through the Gulf region where they can accumulate toxins in their gills from the oil itself and from the chemical dispersants.
“I hope that my involvement will bring attention to what is going on in the bluefin fishery,” Grenier said. “I want these PSAs to encourage people to get involved and help Oceana save these amazing creatures.”
Watch the PSA and get involved with Adrian and Oceana to protect bluefin!
From today’s Washington Post:
"People's outrage is focused on BP," [Anthony] Leiserowitz said. The spill "hasn't been automatically connected to some sense that there's something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world," he said.
[Leiserowitz tracks public opinion on environmental issues at Yale University.]
From CNN today:
Oysterman Vlaho Mjehovich said the damage to the local waters has long-term repercussions.
"I've seen areas go for 10 years without oysters coming back. This is not going to be done and fixed overnight. People have to understand, this will take years to come back," he said. "What do you do? I had a business. Now, I don't have a business. My business was taken from me overnight. I have to go look for a job now."
Rachel Guillory is Oceana's Campaign Organizer in the Gulf region. She sent us this dispatch.
Last month, a number of Louisiana organizations hosted a two-day rally at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. The rally, called “Love Your Coast”, was the collaborative effort of a handful of local student organizations and environmental groups.
One of the goals of this rally was to pass a resolution through the state legislature, which was drafted by Devin Martin and Darrell Hunt of the Sierra Club Delta Chapter. The resolution asks our political leaders to:
-Urge all state and federal authorities to commit all resources to stopping the leak, and protecting, cleaning, and restoring our shores;
-Urge the state to use all legal means to get all affected individuals and businesses swiftly and justly compensated;
-Present a strategy for the prevention of another drilling disaster and it's economic consequences by prioritizing economic diversification, clean energy development, and safer and more environmentally stringent drilling regulations.