Photo: John Paul King
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig catastrophe continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf
By Chelsea Rauhut
At this very moment, oil is spewing at an astonishing rate of 5,000 barrels a day, just 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. It would take about 100 days for a gushing hose to reach the amount of oil leakage the Gulf has in one day. It’s been 23.
“All of a sudden I’m getting emails while I’m in Costa Rica how the world is going to end,” says Sterling Spencer. The oil spill from April 20th is right in front of Spencer’s house and local spot in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
The seabed has been converted into an oil mine, constantly being drilled to satisfy the relentless addiction of parched oil fiends and simultaneously devastating our ocean, ecosystems, and the coastal economies that depend on them.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinking has resulted in horrific consequences for the Gulf Coast’s fragile ecosystem. Right now, relief wells are pumping concrete into the leaking pipes, but this could take months, and several places on shore have already been reached.
SURFING’S Senior Editor, and East Coaster, Matt Walker went to the Mineral Management Service (MMS) meeting a few weeks ago. “Basically, they were soliciting public comment on the seismic testing process which they use to find oil.”
“Of course, MMS downplayed the impacts and their methods,” said Walker.
They continually argued that looking for oil was not their only motivation, and that they were seeing what bathymetry was available for windmills.
“Complete bullshit. They act as a sales team for oil interests,” Walker said.
This is an urgent measure, as enormous harm to wildlife that live in or near the ocean has already left an imprint on the ecosystem. Ocean and beach contamination, along with powerful seismic guns, have long-term consequences on the Gulf’s fragile ecosystem, whose species populations are at risk to change or even disappear.
The spill has not only been detrimental to the environment, but it presents a grave threat to the commercial fishing industry, and tourism businesses along the Gulf Coast are witnessing the devastating consequences.
A lot of Spencer’s friends work on the beach. He says, “Less people are coming and soon it could be closed down. It’s bad because this is their biggest money making season.”
One thousand miles of beach could be destroyed by the time this mess is contained. “There’s gonna be a lot of cleaning, and a lot of lawsuits around here,” said Spencer.
As surfers, we need to do as much as we can to help with the efforts of cleaning and raising the awareness of this issue.
The Surfrider Foundation is working to support oil spill prevention and response legislation by urging President Obama to reverse his recent plans to further open up our coast to offshore drilling.
Up-to-date news and volunteer information can be found at Deepwater Horizon Response, and its organizers are looking for people who can help.
For more information on the latest development and ways to help, you can visit Surfrider’s anti-drilling site, nottheanswer.org and you can track the effects on the Gulf at http://oilspill.skytruth.org/.