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BP Oil Spill: Gulf Coast Update
Oil Soaked Wave in Orange Beach, AL
Effects of Oil Spill Being Felt
The BP Oil Spill is finally showing itself along the gulf coast from the beaches of Mississippi to the beaches of Pensacola, FL. The beaches of Biloxi, MS were basically deserted due to the oil coming ashore. There doesn't appear to be that much oil on these beaches yet if you judge by the number of cleanup crew assigned. Only two people from BP were there cleaning up the oil patches on the white sands. But, the effects of the oil spill are not only affecting people coming to the beaches. It is also affecting tourism and the many casinos in southern Mississippi. Casino spokesmen won't discuss how business is these days due to the BP oil spill. But, from personal observation of two of the more popular casinos, business is definitely down. What casinos fear most is a double whammy of the oil spill mixed in with a CAT 3 hurricane. Casinos have never recovered lost business from Hurricane Katrina. A bad hurricane might be too much for the casinos to handle right now. It's possible they could just take their business elsewhere. Hopefully, that will not happen. Too many businesses depend on the money that casinos bring in to the Biloxi area.
In Pensacola, FL, Pensacola Beach has been shut down due to the thick toxic oil coming ashore. This is also an important time for businesses along the "strip" at Pensacola Beach. Summer traffic brings in about 80% of their yearly business. Now, that is all gone. There is no word when Pensacola Beach will reopen. It is very unlikely it will open before Labor Day. The oil is spreading across the white sandy beaches of Destin, Panama City Beach, Ft. Walton and others on the west coast of Florida. Many predict it could reach as far down as Miami. Likewise that would be absolutely devastating for a state that is still reeling from a series of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. There probably isn't a state that depends on tourism dollars, along the Gulf of Mexico, more than Florida. Also, as in Ms and La, the worry here is what will happen during the hurricane season. A CAT 3 hurricane near the Deepwater Horizon explosion site could make things so horrific that people can't deal with it any longer.
Here in southern Alabama, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, a big tourist and fisherman annual event, has been canceled this year. This event brings in thousands and thousands of tourists and fishermen from all over the nation. This is also a big boon for the economy all over southern Alabama. Also, the annual July 4 fireworks is also canceled this year. The last thing we need is an out of control fire along the coast. In Orange Beach, the oil is also making its presence known. There are cleanup crews along the beach. But, not as many as I would have thought given the amount of oil coming on shore. Last week, acharter boat captain, who had lost all his charter fishing business, committed suicide. He had been hired by BP to help out with the cleanup out in the gulf. Apparently, he was extremely despondent over the loss of business and the seemingly never ending cleanup. Fishing is almost completely finished in the gulf for this year and years to come. Many people, such as the charter boat captain, are on the verge of losing everything they own due to this oil spill. Gulf Shores, probably the most popular beach area in Alabama, is seeing significant oi splotches also. Cleanup is ongoing here. Some areas are not nearly as bad as others. So, for the most part, Gulf Shores has not officially closed their beaches to the public. Only time will tell. But, I expect all the beach area in Gulf Shores to close down soon.
It's a pretty bleak future along the gulf coast right now. It all depends on how soon BP stops the oil gushing out of the well. Worst case scenario that I have heard is around Christmas. I simply do not believe that! I have to believe this thing is going to be capped before the end of the summer. The thing that continues to baffle me and many other people is why aren't there dozens of oil skimmers out in the gulf right now? Sure, there are a few, maybe less than the fingers on one hand. But, there should many of them by now. It's frustrating to see the large numbers of pelicans, herons, turtles and dolphins washing up on our shores. People are heroically trying to save them. But, it is almost a fruitless endeavor right now. The question, the BIG question that many people are asking; how long will it take for the gulf to recover? That is a question no one can answer. It is a question no one is willing to even try to answer.
BP Oil Spill Update
- BP Oil Spill: Gulf Coast Update
The BP Oil Spill is finally showing itself along the gulf coast from the beaches of Mississippi to the beaches of Pensacola, FL. The beaches of Biloxi, MS were basically deserted due to the oil coming ashore....