Two Years After the BP Drilling Disaster, Gulf Residents Fear for the Future

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/20

by Jordan Flaherty
Published on Friday, April 20, 2012 by Common Dreams

On April 20, 2010, a reckless attitude towards the safety of the Gulf Coast by BP, as well as Transocean and Halliburton, caused a well to blow out 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. As the world watched in horror, underwater cameras showed a seemingly endless flow of oil – hundreds of millions of gallons – and a series of failed efforts to stop it, over a period of nearly three months. Two years later, that horror has not ended for many on the Gulf.

“People should be aware that the oil is still there,” says Wilma Subra, a chemist who travels widely across the Gulf meeting with fishers and testing seafood and sediment samples for contamination.

Subra says that the reality she is seeing on the ground contrasts sharply with the image painted by BP. “I’m extremely concerned on the impact it’s having on all these sick individuals,” she says. Subra believes we may be just at the beginning of this disaster. In every community she visits, fishers show her shrimp born without eyes, fish with lesions, and crabs with holes in their shells. She says tarballs are still washing up on beaches across the region.

While it’s too early to assess the long-term environmental impact, a host of recent studies published by the National Academy of Sciences and other respected institutions have shown troubling results. They describe mass deaths of deepwater coral, dolphins, and killifish, a small animal at the base of the Gulf food chain. “If you add them all up, it’s clear the oil is still in the ecosystem, it’s still having an effect,” says Aaron Viles, deputy director of Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental organization active in the region.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/20

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