As a silent blanket of black goo that is now about the size of the state of Florida slowly but relentlessly drifts towards the Gulf Coast, communities in the region are bracing for an economic catastrophe that is being described as a “slow motion Katrina”. Still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina after all these years, many who depend on the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihood fear that the massive oil spill heading their way could prove to be an economic disaster from which they will never recover. Thousands of businesses in the region could go under before all of this is over, and millions could lose their jobs. As the gigantic mass of black oil kills and maims all the wildlife it encounters, and as it pushes dangerously close to the coastal wetlands, many residents are predicting that two of the most important industries in the region – seafood and tourism – will be completely and totally destroyed.
Already, the edges of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have grazed the barrier islands off Louisiana’s Chandeleur and Breton sounds. BP spokeswoman Ayana McIntosh-Lee announced on Monday that the damaged well is releasing 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. At this point there is no end in sight.
In fact, the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico is now larger than the entire state of Florida, and each day it grows larger and more insidious.
Scientists in the region tell us that the Gulf oil spill could actually get into what’s called the “Loop Current” within a day, eventually carrying oil south along the Florida coast and into the Florida Keys. In fact, one prominent oceanographer says that he cannot think of any scenario where the oil spill doesn’t eventually reach the Florida Keys.
And there are indications that things could get a whole lot worse before they get better.
It is being reported that a confidential government report on the oil spill in the Gulf makes it clear that the Coast Guard now fears that the damaged well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf. One Alabama newspaper has posted excerpts from this alarming report….
“The following is not public,” reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Emergency Response document dated April 28th that was posted on . “Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought.”
How bad could it get?
Well, if the riser pipe blows out, experts tell us that we could see 5 to 10 times as much oil flowing into the Gulf as we are now.
That would be a nightmare of Biblical proportions.
Not that we aren’t facing a complete and total nightmare already.
Both Obama administration and BP are indicating that it might take up to three months to completely seal off the leaking oil well.
3 more months of oil flowing into the Gulf?
How in the world could the Gulf Coast ever recover from that?
And once the oil spill gets into the wetlands along the coast it will never, ever be able to be totally cleaned up.
Already, environmentalists are warning that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could absolutely devastate the bird population of the region.
You see, nearly 75 percent of all U.S. waterfowl use Louisiana’s three million acres of wetlands to rest or nest. Once the oil spill gets into those wetlands it is over for those waterfowl.
Not only that, but Louisiana produces more fish and seafood than anywhere in the United States except for Alaska. The cost of this disaster to the fishing industry in Louisiana alone could top 3 billion dollars, and it is being projected that the tourism industry in Florida could lose even more than that.
In fact, some local shrimpers in the region are gloomily forecasting that it will be seven years before they can set to sea again.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Entire industries are going to be wiped out by this thing.
In economic terms, this is far bigger than Katrina.
What we are witnessing is the potential economic death of an entire region.
To get an idea of just what kind of a nightmare the residents of the Gulf Coast are facing, just read some of the quotes that have been popping up in mainstream media sources over the last couple of days….
“Worst case scenarios almost never happen,” Professor Robert Thomas, of New Orleans’ Loyola University, was quoted as saying yesterday. “In this case, almost everyone I have known with technical knowledge of oil spills – people who have worked in the industry 30, 40 years – say it is upon us.”
Louis Miller of the Mississippi Sierra Club:
This is going to destroy the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast as we know it.
“A major oil spill would devastate the ecosystem and the economy based on that ecosystem,” said Larry Crowder, professor of marine biology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “It’s a particularly bad time of year because just about everything is nesting or replicating.
“In the Gulf of Mexico giant blue fin tuna are spawning, and their eggs and larvae float on the surface,” he said. “Seabirds and gulls are nesting. For nesting sea turtles, obviously, oiling the beaches could have a devastating impact.”
An anonymous Louisiana resident:
“A hurricane is like closing your bank account for a few days, but this here has the capacity to destroy our bank accounts.”
Even if you have a heart that is cold as a stone, now is the time to pray for those who live along the Gulf Coast. The oil spill relentlessly pushing towards the shore threatens to destroy countless numbers of lives.
Hopefully BP (or someone else) will find a way to keep this disaster from escalating out of control.
If not, there are going to be a whole lot of people who are going to need our help.