It is not too early to assess the fallout and damage to valuable ecosystems and coastlines. Loss of livelihood and health considerations are just two of the problems Governors Jindal and Crist have to deal with at this time. Their plates are full. It will take many years for the sea to cleanse itself from such a preventable catastrophe. According to Brandon Keim in his article, Gulf Coast May Be Permanently Changed by Oil Spill, “..since heavy exposure to oil is toxic to humans and plant life, species-level tipping points could be reached meaning replenishment would be all but impossible.” The research suggests that some areas adjacent to Louisiana coastlines have barrier reefs, islands and underwater sea-grass farms where crabs and shrimp multiply along with other types of fish.
“Another type of Gulf ecosystem is found further off the coastline, in coral-rich continental shelves. These are home to complex webs that support many fish species, including most of the red snapper found in U.S. restaurants. These areas will be affected even if oil never reaches land, said Cowan.” (Kiem 12)
Watching pictures of oil spewing out of the well is just one aspect of this catastrophe. Daniela Perdomo in her article, Ten Things You Need (But Don’t Want) To Know About the BP Oil Spill, highlights the fact that Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP has made 270 million dollars off the oil leak. Transocean is headquarted in Switzerland. The safety record of BP and oil spills (catastrophes) are seen as part of BP’s business model. Experts say the best cleanup scenario is to recover 20 percent of the spilled oil. http://www.outboardmotoroilblog.comprestige_oil_spill_victim.jpg
Projected effects of oil clean-up are not promising. In keeping with BP’s and Transocean bottom line, they are asking survivors to sign waivers that would limit their right to sue. No PPE or (personal protective equipment) was provided to fisherman assisting in the clean-up. Therefore the domino effect on the health care system has not been assessed.
On the longer-term side of things, there are signs that this largest oil drilling catastrophe could also become the worst natural gas and climate disaster. The explosion has released tremendous amounts of methane from deep in the ocean, and research shows that methane, when mixed with air, is the most powerful greenhouse gas—26 times worse than carbon-dioxide.” (Perdomo)
Health care can be a problem for anyone that does not have health insurance. For the first time in the twentieth century Gulf Coast residents may see an influx of population from the wetlands to the concrete jungle. If what editor Perdomo says is right, there could be an excess of illnesses in the future. A lack of affordable housing may mean over crowding in nearby cities and small towns. Bracing for the worst instead of hoping for the best may be in order. Just examining the facts.
According to Law.com (Ingram and Levine), there has already been one-hundred cases filed against BP. Previously there was a cap invoked for plaintiffs who desired to sue oil companies. There is a growing trend now to lift that cap in Washington. It makes sense to raise maritime liability caps because if not the government will end up having to support massive amounts of families. With a proper monetary award, families would be given a chance to relocate and get alternative education.
What side are the politicians going to champion? Perhaps looking at how the votes are tallied in the Senate and the House would be appropriate. CSPAN offers some insight into dialogue and discourse on any subject. The Sunday version of CSPAN encourages the viewing audience to call in with questions. Halliburton, TransOcean, and BP have hired high priced lawyers to defend them in what will be a highly volatile trial.