With the latest oil spill currently happening in the Gulf of Mexico, I feel the general public would agree with me that the risks of deep-water oil drilling far outweigh the benefits. The risks, such as loss of marine life, loss of jobs, health problems for the area residents, are all long-term consequences. Consequences that could damage our ecosystem permanently and forever change the lives of all people living around the gulf.
Marine toxicologist Susan D. Shaw wrote in a guest column, “Top to Bottom, Gulf Spill Brings Death in the Ocean” (BDN, June 13), that not only is the leaked oil contaminating all living creatures that call the GULF of Mexico and the surrounding land environments home, but the chemical dispersants BP is using to dissipate the oil, to supposedly help disseminate the spill, are harmful as well.
Shaw wrote: “The addition of toxic chemical dispersants may be causing fish, seabirds and dolphins to drown in their own blood.” This information is alarming.
BP’s cleanup methods are at the risk and expense of fish, mammals, birds and various sea life living in thegulf. And she further states, “BP has released more than 800,000 gallons of COREXIT, its ‘industry-insider’ line of chemical COREXIT, into the gulf.” Why couldn’t BP find a more ecofriendly solution than such an apparent toxic chemical?
Are we “cleaning” the waters in the Gulf of Mexico or are we poisoning them more? Why is BP allowed to run the largest deep-water oil drilling operation in the world, but it can’t put together a competent oil disaster plan to handle catastrophic oil spills?
The current estimates of oil being spilled into the gulf are around 40,000 barrels a day. The total sum of oil spilled so far is approximately 42 million to 84 million gallons of oil. BP has not announced how it plans to stop the oil leak permanently. So, if the oil continues to flow into the gulf at this alarming rate, it will become the worst oil spill in history eclipsing the 1991 Persian Gulf oil spill, which put 240 million gallons of oil into the ocean near Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The BP oil disaster will create a domino effect: The gulf will be contaminated with toxic chemicals, the fish living in the waters will become sick and die, the marine mammals that have to come up to the surface to breathe will become coated in the oil and will die. The sea beds at the bottom of the gulf will become toxic with oil sludge, therefore killing all living creatures living there. The sea birds that land on the oil-slicked water will become so coated with oil they will not be able to fly and will eventually die. All these living creatures in and around the gulf will more than likely face a painfully slow and agonizing death.
With the loss of the fish, fishermen, who make their living on the gulf will lose their jobs. Tourism in the gulf will suffer because tourists will stay away. And let us not forget the cleanup crews working to get rid of the oil and the volunteers helping to save the animals. They, too, will most likely suffer from side effects from the long-term exposure to the oil.
In the end, millions of dollars will be spent on the cleanup effort and millions of potential revenue will be lost. Is all this really worth it? Do we want to go through this again in five or 10 years? Do we want BP and other oil companies to be able to lobby to get lenient regulations so they can make more and more money at the expense of their workers, the environment and every person and living creature who make their home in or near the ocean?
Please write to President Barack Obama and Congress and demand that deep-water oil drilling be stopped before more lives are ruined as a result and urge them to look in a new direction to find other means of energy fora healthier and safer planet.
Sharon Gilley of Bucksport is a freelance proofreader and a volunteer for Oceana.org.