Posts Tagged ‘Deepwater Horizon’

The Disaster Before Traditional Disaster Season

Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Getting Closer

Getting Closer (Source: NOAA)

The 2010 hurricane season does not start for another month, but small businesses in the Gulf Coast states are already facing a major threat to their livelihoods. More than 40,000 barrels of oil have been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20, when an explosion destroyed the Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling within 50 miles of Louisiana’s coastline. Eleven workers on that rig are unaccounted for and presumed dead. The cause of the explosion is not yet known. Crews are working round the clock to contain the expanding oil slick; deepwater robots are maneuvering to close the platform’s submerged valves. Burning the slick has been proposed as an option, but that creates air pollution and may further damage marine life. It could take months to contain the damage. Meanwhile, the oil spill could reach the shoreline of the Gulf Coast within days, threatening the oyster and shrimp industries and tourism. This comes at a time when the fishing industry is already struggling for its survival. It is threatened by lower-cost imports from Southeast Asia and unaffordable insurance at home. The fishing, shrimp and oyster industries are a major part of the Gulf Coast economy and have not yet recovered from the losses they sustained in Hurricane Katrina. We can only hope that the oil leakage is stopped as soon as possible and damages are minimized.