State of the Gulf: A Status Report from the Save Our Gulf Waterkeepers in the Wake of the BP Oil Disaster

Emerald Coastkeeper                

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After much hard work the STATE OF THE GULF is finally here!! 

This report is written from the perspective of seven waterkeepers along the 5 Gulf Coast states who joined together to form the Save Our Gulf initiative. This group was formed in the wake of the BP oil spill to ensure that those responsible for the catastrophic disaster are held accountable for the restoration in the Gulf.

This State of the Gulf report documents the progress and current conditions of the Gulf Coast region.

    Monitoring Will Be Key!

According to the testing results of Save Our Gulf, the proclamation that Gulf seafood is, and continues to be, safe for regular consumption may have been premature.

Samples were taken from Gulf of Mexico coastal areas from Louisiana to Florida and results show oil contamination in all samples, and that oil contamination may be increasing over time in oysters.

 We found Petroleum Hydrocarbon contamination in all of the areas that were sampled. PAH contamination in some seafoods may be increasing over time.

We in Save Our Gulf believe that comprehensive long-term monitoring will be essential to understanding the effects, and protecting and restoring the Gulf Coast.

Lessons not learned will be repeated. The moratorium slowed the permitting process, but it hasn’t offered a solution. Oil spills of all magnitudes continue to occur and no significant technological procedures have been put into place to prevent other spills of this magnitude from happening again.

                    The oil is still here!!

The “out of sight, out of mind” tactic seems to have worked. An excessive amount of dispersant was used to keep the oil offshore as much as possible, and consequently out of view. People who do not see the oil coating their sandy beaches assume it means the oil is gone. But the oil is still here!!

Leading scientific studies are showing the ¾ of the oil is still lingering on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and right here in our back yard. Oil is still along the coastal area in the forms of tar balls, strings, and mats as well as in subsurface sandy beach areas. In the bay at Fort McRae tar mats are all over, submerged in the seafloor at very toxic levels. Lab workers had to dilute the sample 20 times just to get a reading. They usually only dilute a sample once.

 The people of the Gulf Coast are still in need of proper diagnosis, treatment, and medical monitoring.

Residents who live on or near the water, people in fishing communities, first responders to the Horizon oil disaster… all are getting sick and are seeking medical attention, but are continuously being ignored. The administrator of the BP Victim Compensation Fund, Kenneth Feinberg, has denied all claims submitted by Gulf Coast residents.

And it's no secret that fishermen hired to work for the “Vessels of Opportunity” program were told by their BP superiors that they would be fired if seen using a respirator or any safety equipment not exclusively provided by BP- despite warnings from veterans of the Exxon Valdez on the dangers of contamination during cleanup.

This is a National Disaster

The Gulf Coast serves as a resource for the entire nation. The Gulf of Mexico has one of the most productive fisheries in the world- providing more than 2/3 of the nation’s shrimp and oysters. It also contains four of the top seven fishing ports by weigh and half of the U.S. Coastal Wetlands.

If these Gulf Coast resources are lost, it will have negative consequences for the entire nation.

In these hard times, environmentally and economically, The Gulf Coast must show leadership by rebuilding, recovering, and restoring sustainability and constructing resiliency back into our coastal communities.

We need to all work together as a nation and as a community to restore these vital natural resources!

              

 

 

 

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