Things in the Gulf are rapidly moving from disastrous to catastrophic. One Merriam-Webster definition of catastrophic is, “a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth.” I think that just about sums up the slow moving train wreck that is this disaster. However, Merriam-Webster had a natural disaster in mind. This disaster, like the levee failures that resulted in the flooding after Katrina passed New Orleans with only severe wind damage , is man made. And, again, we cannot say we weren’t warned.
According to local channel Fox 8, BP states they are “not prepared” for a catastrophe (their word, not mine). Their application to the government to operate the well said that a situation like this would be “unlikely or virtually impossible” and that, because the rig is so far from shore, “No significant adverse impacts are expected.”
But, nature is conspiring to bring the full impact of this disaster to our shores. The winds were too high to burn or skim the oil today and they shifted to push the slick on a direct path to the Louisiana coastline. The winds are expected to continue through Sunday. The waters are high, like the winds, so the waves are over-topping the booms designed to contain the slick. You can imagine that with over 40 miles of coastline, requiring an estimated 3 times that amount in booms to hug the terrain and the boats and trained people to lay them, that we’ve only just begun to even receive the booms themselves, much less the manpower. Everything and everyone is mobilizing, but no one has ideas on how to stop the thousands of gallons still flowing from the well as I write in less than 2-3 months time.
BP, part owners of the well, are training local fisherman and deploying their boats to help with the efforts. The company has spent millions advertising their green energy campaign and pledged billions toward greener energy projects. I only hope their commitment to greener energy leads to a swift closing of the open well and a dedication to restoring the areas, industries and people affected.
Halliburton, another of the well’s owners, was responsible for the cementing process which plugs the holes in the pipeline seal. It now appears faulty cementing may have led to the explosion. Last August, there was a similar explosion on a rig off the coast of Australia. That rig leaked for over 10 weeks before it was closed off. Halliburton was responsible for the cementing of that rig as well. Cementing was a factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the last 14 years. Wonder how many of those were cemented by Halliburton? It’s a fair question. But not one their likely to answer as their position is that it is, “Premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues.”
Meantime, the Coast Guard fears the well could become a “gusher,” spilling up to 2.1 million gallons a day (is the .1 meant to lend this figure credibility or do they really know these things?)
What we do know is that at least 1.6 million gallons have been dumped into the Gulf thus far and there are those who believe that because the well is so far beneath the surface, that this estimate could be a small portion of what’s really occurring.
11 workers are presumed dead. 6 zones of oyster beds were closed today. And the Pentagon has approved 2 Air Force planes to fly over and “dump chemicals” on the spill in the hopes that it may break up the oil. Doesn’t sound very promising. Scares me a bit, to be honest. Oil is the devil we know. Who knows what “chemicals” means?
Additionally, an oil rig overturned in an canal near Morgan City, Louisiana. No leaks have been reported yet and the rig has been surrounded by containment booms.
So, I had shrimp for lunch today. I walked in the grey oily air down to Gott Gourmet Cafe.
I ordered the Shrimp BLT Wrap, a tortilla stuffed with Tabasco butter sautéed jumbo shrimp, fresh mozzarella, apple smoked bacon, roasted peppers and tomatoes, avocado, with chipotle cream cheese. Yum.
Many of our residents are happily oblivious, partying at Jazz Fest and, hopefully, gobbling up the last of the fresh catch. I plan to eat local shrimp everyday like it might be the last. And I plan to pray – for a speedy capping of the well, for a miraculous change in tides, for the swift and the mighty to come quickly and get ahead of the damage and I pray for our wetlands, wildlife, industries, and citizenry to be protected.