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The black plague of the new age

Updated on June 8, 2010
courtesy of Newell Family Fotos
courtesy of Newell Family Fotos

The Waiting Game

As BP’s black plague inches closer to area beaches the British oil giant is still unable to stem the flow. Robots succeeded in cutting the pipe that the diamond bladed saw failed to cut. This triumph was marred by a bit of tragedy, the cut was jagged, which will make capping the leak difficult. If the capping effort fails, then it could be August before the leak can be stopped. Each time an attempt to plug the damaged well fails the threat to the coastal main land increases. As the waiting game continues, the Gulf fishing grounds grow smaller and more and more fisherman are out of work. 

Tropical storm surge Courtesy of Newell Family Fotos
Tropical storm surge Courtesy of Newell Family Fotos

The winds of Change

If BP didn’t have enough problems, June 1st, is the beginning of the gulf hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center is predicting this to be a very active season with as many 18 storms forming, 8 to 14 of which could be major. This could prove catastrophic for both BP and the coastal area. One major storm making landfall anywhere in the coastal region while the oil in the gulf could be the end of that community and / or cities for hundreds of miles.

The Department of Environmental Quality is telling residence along the Gulf Coast that there is no danger to drinking water wells or soil contamination. This is a true fact, for now. However, if a major storm should make land fall on the coast even with just a twenty foot storm surge; it could bring the oil as far as a quarter of a mile inland. Then if the storm surge is followed by heavy rain it would cause the oil to seep down into drinking water wells (both public and private), contaminating the soil, as well as marshlands and freshwater rivers.

Dead in the water

The Katrina response will seem lightening fast compared to a response to a major storm with the oil spill involved. FEMA is still reeling financially from Katrina, as well as all the other catastrophes that America has experienced since then. It is very likely that any help from them would be small and well guarded. Like a good neighbor your insurance companies will once again slap the South with those good hands by saying that your home owner policies do not cover contamination from an offshore oil spill (even in a storm). They may also blame any and all property damage on the oil, rather than the surge and skillfully escape having to pay flood claims.  This will then leave the recovery of the Gulf Coast region dead in the water.

Southern Chernobyl

In 1986 the world was astounded by the explosion of the Russian nuclear Power plant, Chernobyl. Like the Horizon oil spill, the world had never dealt with a disaster of such magnitude. No one more so than the fire fighters who were first on the scene of the early morning blast. They had no training and very little knowledge when it came to dealing with radioactive materials. The fire fighting gear they wore to protect them from the flames proved useless in protecting them from radiation. As a result of the lack of knowledge and poor equipment many of those men died as a direct result of radiation poisoning.

The first responders were not the only ones to suffer from the pollution caused by Chernobyl. Thousands of people were exposed to deadly amounts of radiation in the nearby town of Pripyat and were never told of the dangers. The Government and Chernobyl Co officials downplayed the explosion and the risk in an effort to keep them hid as long as possible. It wasn’t until the radiation detectors at a Swiss Nuclear Power plant began to go off that the people of Pripyat and the world began to hear about the disaster. It was almost 48 hours before an evacuation of Pripyat began by then thousands were dead people walking and didn’t know it.

Today we heard ABC News tell of how workers on the BP cleanup crews were getting sick but were afraid to come forward for fear of losing their jobs. Many of these workers are out of work fisherman who are forced to work the clean up to feed their families. Petroleum pollution exposure causes respertory problems which symptoms mimic the flu but are far more dangerous. Prolonged exposure can lead to Asthma, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, and possible COPD. Most of these cleanup workers have little or no knowledge of the risk involved with dealing with these toxins. The clothing and equipment they are given offer very little protection from the oil. Most leave out of port wearing T shirts, gloves, hard hats and life vest.

Oil pushed ashore by a hurricane could bring this danger to residence of the Coast. If the soil is contaminated it would hold the oil and that would lead to air pollution which would directly affect the lives of all who live in the affected areas. Along with the deteriorating economy and health of the people, property values on the coast would become worthless. Insurance cost driven to astronomical levels after Hurricane Katrina would become unreachable. Thousands of property owners would be forced to virtually give their houses and lands away. It would be like trying to sell a vacation spot on Three Mile Island.

Who's Job is it anyway

Anybody, Somebody, and Nobody, in looking at the crisis itself; we have to ask why there were no contingency plans in place for such a disaster. Anybody in any of the drilling companies could have done research and development on a disaster plan. Somebody in the upper echelon should have had insight enough to know that this was a real threat, yet nobody did. You would think somebody on the “Green Team” would have threw an out right fit over the lack of controls on deep water drilling. Yet in this instance, Green Peace held their peace.

While Washington is trying to stay as far away from the tar balls as possible, the Obama administration must stop playing the blame game and get involved. Since this tragedy began I have been asking myself, “Where is the Army Corps of engineers?” In dealing with safety of the people on this clean-up operation, “Where is Osha?”

The Governments responses to these questions are that they are letting BP handle this problem because they are the experts. These so called experts have had almost two months to get this situation under control and have failed. Washington spends Billions of tax payer dollars every year to study such things as; the mating habits of the fruit fly and why mud sticks to pavement. It is time to spend some taxpayer dollars and bring in “our disaster experts to save the Gulf Coast.”

Course of Action

There is hope; while stopping the gushing oil is paramount, we must also look to some preventative measures as well.

  1. First and foremost educate the people- Let the men and women of the Gulf coast region know what they are dealing with and what they can do to prepare and protect themselves and their families.
  2. Do some pre-emptive work to protect the inland areas before a storm or storm surge threatens the area.
  3. Employ a collective effort-This should not just be British Petroleum’s problem, this threatens America as a whole and if not curtailed soon, it could very well affect the entire world. Step up Uncle Sam and put your work clothes on.

Last but certainly not least, Don't forget to pray; There is nothing too hard for God! Jesus is certainly concerned about the lives involved here, and seeing that everyone else has failed, it is time to watch and see what God does best, the IMPOSSIBLE!


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    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Hi Johnny...good job on this one.

    • jiberish profile image

      jiberish 7 years ago from florida

      I read an article that said the spill may go on for years. Maybe prayer is the only thing that will clean this up!