>Goodbye White Sand Beaches

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Nice tourism economy you have there, Gulf Coast. Be a shame if anything happened to it:

NEW ORLEANS — Oil leaking from a sunken drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico oozed slowly toward the coast Monday, endangering hundreds of miles of marshes, barrier islands and white sand beaches in four states from Louisiana to Florida.

The areas, home to dolphins, sea birds, prime fishing grounds and tourist playlands, could be fouled later this week if crews can’t cut off an estimated 42,000 gallons a day escaping two leaks in a drilling pipe about 5,000 feet below the surface.

[…]

The spill, moving slowly north and spreading east and west, was about 30 miles from the Chandeleur Islands off the Louisiana coast Tuesday. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said it would likely be several days before any oil reaches the coast.

George Crozier, oceanographer and executive director at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, said he was studying wind and ocean currents driving the oil. He said Pensacola, Fla., is likely the edge of the threatened area.

Meanwhile, at least Gov. Jindal has seen fit to order the Coast Guard to protect the Pass A Loutre wildlife refuge. Haley Barbour of Mississippi is predictably dithering.

If you grew up in California then the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill has been seared into your consciousness. For those who don’t remember, a Union Oil platform exploded off the coast of Santa Barbara in January 1969, sending 200,000 gallons of crude into the Pacific over 11 days. It was a major environmental disaster by anyone’s estimation, tens of thousands of birds were killed, and oil washed up on the beaches literally for years afterward (trust me, I remember “beach tar.”) Many credit it with raising the nation’s environmental awareness and giving birth to the environmental movement.

Of course our memories are short, and “drill here, drill now” has become the new rallying cry of an energy-hungry nation.

Wonder what the shrimpers, oystermen and tourist businesses think about this?

10 Comments

Filed under energy production, oil

10 responses to “>Goodbye White Sand Beaches

  1. >I remember the beach tar in La Jolla. I don't think I ever saw any later than about '76 or maybe '77, but it took a long time to go away. I also remember big crews of volunteers desperately scrubbing pelicans and other sea birds. Many more birds were beyond any help. Today the pelicans are very happy.Obviously the Exxon Valdez stands out as the worst oil disaster of all time. The wonderfully diverse and abundant wildlife of Prince William Sound and the associated fishing industries are simply wiped out and gone forever. It's funny. Even the drill here drill now crowd sees California as off-limits.

  2. >Even the drill here drill now crowd sees California as off-limits.Only because opposition is so strong there, thanks to lessons of 1969…

  3. >Spill, Baby, Spill!

  4. >“drill here, drill now”is something that The Impalinator should write down, on her forehead. But, then again it would wind up being a "dry hole".

  5. >Flying Junior…"Obviously the Exxon Valdez stands out as the worst oil disaster of all time"Not really. Not even in the top tier. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001451.htmlAs bad as EV was, the third world spills which never get the press are light-years worse. 37North

  6. >That's quite an eye-opener 37N. Though I'm not sure England, Wales and France count as third world countries. I'm surprised the Niger delta isn't mentioned. I guess it's just considered one vast oil field.Kind of makes Bush's claim of safe extraction technology in the ANWR laughable at best.

  7. >Tennessee's coal ash sludge spill was larger than the Exxon Valdez, though it was in East Tennessee not out at sea.Clean coal, yeah right.

  8. >FJ.. the Niger delta is a jaw-dropping environmental disaster at just about any way you want to look at it. Who's down there… is that Shell primarily? As bad as the oil is, the fact the companies use death squads to assassinate people trying to clean up the situation is beyond belief. Thank god I sold my Hummer and RV 🙂 (just kidding… )37N

  9. >"Pensacola: Florida's Best-Kept Vacation Secret" "Why Pensacola Beach Should Be Voted 'America's Best Beach'…. Pensacola, Florida is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Located in the Northwest Florida Panhandle, Pensacola Beach features pristine white sand, clear blue surf, and miles upon miles of uninhabited beachfront perfect for family vacations."http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/322797/why_pensacola_beach_should_be_voted.html?cat=16 This is 100% accurate BTW…I 've been there and just a little sand in your hand shines bright white like it is made of crushed quartz crystal instead of crushed up little sea shells…in the end though the sand will be a lot easier to clean up than the salt marshes that are home to all kinds of wildlife ….especially birds. I hope it's not too bad and will once again wake folks up…. I'm a life long Floridian and this just sickens me.Also….I'm stealing "Spill, Baby, Spill! "and "Spill here,Spill now" ….thanks..

  10. Jim

    >"drill baby drill" will now be "burn baby burn" as the plan to "contain" the spill is to light the oil slick and burn it off before it reaches shore.