Friday, May 28, 2010
Environmental Disaster of Epic Proportions
Environmental Disaster of Epic proportions
Today I spent most of the day out in boats photographing the BP Oil Spill affected areas in South Louisiana. It was heartbreaking to say the least. As a nature photographer who has routinely tried to display the very best of nature in my images, this was difficult. To look around and see the potential beauty and as a scientist, realize the potential harm, my heart broke. I hear the stories of how the people here are being affected. Their livelihoods, their homes, their families, their beautiful backyard. They are angry and rightly so. As I watch Brown Pelicans on a rookery, some of their island was coated with oil. They are surrounded by “protective boom” to keep the oil out.. I wonder how they know to stay inside the boom. Were there training and information sessions for them on the dangers of sitting in oil slick water, or trying to scoop up fish from water full of oil, emulsified down into the water column? I think not. The boom I saw set out today was somewhat of a joke. Not maintained, not complete and any small chop blown up by wind can cross the boom and with the oil down under the surface, the boom prevents none of that.
And where is the clean up? In the past 3 days of looking around the epicenter of this ecological disaster, the only effort I have seen is the boom being placed. I have seen the presence of most of the agencies.. USFWS, USCG, Army Reserve, LA State Fish and Wildlife, but I haven’t seen the EPA around at all. I heard a story from one of the boat captains that 2 days ago shrimp trawlers were out in one of the bays going back and forth over oil that had been spray with dispersant. He asked one of his friends who was piloting one of the boats what they were doing. The reply was “breaking up the oil so it will sink”.. and this is considered CLEANUP? The government and President have said they are doing all they can to help, while there are thousands of volunteers waiting, being told that it is a liability if they get out there to help. The American people need to be told what is being done to start cleaning this up and to prevent any further encroachment of BP oil on American soil. We need to have confidence that our government is going full throttle, not rhetoric. Show us the evidence, show us your effort. You tell us you’re doing something, but I’ve been there in the heart of the disaster, and I don’t see it. We need to call our Congress representatives and tell them to get on the ball. We need to support organizations like Defenders of the Wildlife and National Wildlife Federation who are trying to help.