Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Concern For My Coast

Happy Wednesday, Shopaholics. When I started this blog, I made a promise to myself that a few topics were "off limits" and would not appear on my blog. The three topics are: politics, religion and sex. Naturally I have my opinions about these topics, but as my buddy over at Bumpkin on A Swing says, "it ain't happening around here".

However, I must share a huge concern with you all! You already know I'm a coastal girl - after all, I left the big cushy $$$ making job to return to my beloved Gulf Coast several years ago. I love everything about the coast - the beach, the boating, the tourism, the seafood industry, the wildlife.

Last week, there was an "incident" in the Gulf of Mexico. I'm going to give you some information - and this comes directly from http://www.noaa.gov/. This gives the background info, as well as what is currently being done to "control" the situation.

Background:  The incident involves a deepwater drilling platform approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. An explosion and subsequent fire damaged the rig, which capsized and sank on April 22, after burning for hours. It is unclear how much of the estimated 700,000 gallons (approximately 16,700 barrels) of #2 fuel onboard burned before it sank. The rig is owned by Trans Ocean and under contract to BP.


Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico

Updated each evening


Current Situation: Tuesday 27 April
Responders were again unsuccessful in using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to trigger the blowout preventer (BOP), a series of valves that sits at the well head. Additional options are still being developed to trigger the BOP. The Unified Command is also considering using controlled burning to control oil floating on the surface.


Construction has begun on a collection dome that will be deployed to the sea floor to collect and funnel oil as it escapes from the well, a method that has never been tried this deep before. The first rig to be used for drilling a relief or cut-off well arrived last night, several more are planned – a relief well would take several months to complete.


Current NOAA efforts are focused on: gathering more information about the spill, planning for containment, and readying for environmental assessment and response. Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) activities are now underway.


Edge of area with visible oil is now 21 miles from the nearest point of land- SW Pass at the tip of the Mississippi River Delta.

Weather forecast to be favorable (5-10 kts from the north) on Wednesday for in situ burning, dispersant application, and skimming operations. This wind will take the floating oil offshore.

Winds are forecast to become strong (20+ kts) and blow from the southeast on Thursday, which will tend to push surface oil towards shore.


The latest NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses do not indicate oil coming to shore over the next 72 hours. However protective booms (or floating barriers) are being deployed in sensitive areas. The effects of oil on sensitive habitats and shorelines in four states (LA, MS, AL, and FL) are being evaluated should oil from the incident make landfall in appreciable quantities


NOAA’s Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD) brought together more than 20 Federal and State natural resource trustees today to discuss natural resource damage assessment efforts


ARD is evaluating concerns about potential injuries of oil and dispersants to fishes, human use of fisheries, marine mammals, turtles, and sensitive resources

Picture of the oil rig while it was still burning (and before it sank, of course)


 
Believe me, I know this is a lot of information. In plain English, it means the Northern Gulf Coast is in BIG trouble. This oil IS coming ashore, it's merely a question of where and when. The latest projections take it into LA first, then MS and AL. Like my friend The Bumpkin said, it's almost like a hurricane is brewing out there and we're not sure yet exactly where it's headed. I do know this - the impact of this will be devastating. Wildlife (think brown pelicans, seagulls, etc), marine life (think spawning whales, dolphins and sea turtles), the seafood industry (a staple in most of our diets, after all), tourism (who wants to visit a beach where the sand is covered in oil and you can't get in the water??) This region has had more than it's fair share of heartbreak - Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina immediately come to mind. Some areas are just now recovering from those devastating storms, 5-8 years later.

One photo taken today - aerial view of the oil slick
 
We have all chosen to mostly ignore it, but the economy is in shambles. They tell us "it's getting better", I've tried to stay upbeat about the situation and drink the Kool Aid they're feeding me. I've continued to buy $300 dresses like a mad woman, dine out twice a week, and drive all over the place in my gas sucking vehicles (sports car and SUV, in case you're wondering). But I don't see it. And if this happens....honestly, I'm sick just thinking about it.

Mostly I'm sick because I love the beach, the boat, fishing and seafood. I love watching pelicans. I love feeding the ducks from my parents home on Dauphin Island. (Actually DH loves that more, but you know what I mean here). I love knowing that I can purchase fresh seafood at any time, from a fisherman who owns his boat and catches it locally. I love to go shrimping - it's hard work but boy it's fun. This is our Margaritaville (BTW, Jimmy Buffett is originally from Mobile, and his sister still lives locally and owns a big tourist destination in Gulf Shores - Lulu's). I'm hopeful that life - as I know it - doesn't change drastically around these parts. But I'm not confident. I'm actually scared.

Please go and visit my friend L over at Bumpkin On A Swing, she is also posting about the situation. Bumpkin lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, right next door to me. Her Captain is very involved in this recovery effort, and she has credible information to share.

I leave you with some of my favorite shots of the Alabama Gulf Coast, taken last summer. If you're the praying type, say a little one for all of us down here. We need and appreciate it!









8 comments:

  1. I am praying for you and your beloved coast. Natural disasters are bad enough but man made ones are even worse.I,too love the shore and it's many creatures. You are in my thoughts.

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  2. This is very sad. I grew up in Ky but have lived on the Florida east coast for 10 years and this just hurts my heart. I hope they are able to do something, anything.

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  3. This post breaks my heart. There is nothing more beautiful than Gulf Coast wildlife. What would life in South LA have been like without images similar to the ones you showed here. And the fisherman who spend their lives on those waters must feel such sadness right now.

    I will be thinking of them and the offshoremen who did not make it out of this terrible event.

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  4. I heard about this event, how terrible for so many aspects of life down on the Gulf Coast. Prayers from up North that this gets resolved and for all those who'll be affected!

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  5. Sending up prayers...keep us posted.

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  6. Oh girl! I hope they get this mess cleaned up and fast! Sending prayers and hugs your way! xoxo

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