Thursday, June 24, 2010

Inevitably and Horribly, Oil Is Now Fouling Gulf Coast Beaches

[Top: Oil fouls Pensacola Beach {Pensacola News-Journal}. Middle: Fish in oily waves off Alabama. {Mobile Press-Register}. Bottom: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour]

Some of the finest days of my youth were spent many years ago, when I was stationed for 18 months in Pensacola, Fla.

A friend and I rented a house on Pensacola Beach, back before it was discovered for Spring Break and other crowded diversions. It was quiet (well, till Saturday night) and so beautiful in the morning and at night that I can still see it and hear it and smell it.

Once in a while, for a change of pace (and for more excitement), we'd make the drive west to Biloxi, Miss., where the beach was also magnificent. This, too, was in the days before Biloxi got discovered.

These beautiful Gulf coast beaches are now, as we knew they would, being fouled by nasty oil from the BP-Deepwater Horizon disaster. Here's a report from the Pensacola News-Journal. and a sorrowful feature story that accompanies it. Here's one from the Biloxi Sun-Herald which states that "Mississippi's lucky streak appears to be ending." You can say that again, Skippy.

A week ago, Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi (and who remains deep deep in the pocket of the oil industry), ridiculed those who expressed concern about what he dismissed as "a few little tarballs."

Still laughing, Haley?

[UPDATE: For reasons utterly baffling to me, the national media continue to give credence to the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal commander in charge of the Gulf disaster operations, Admiral "Ribbons" Allen, who has been noticeably tight with BP.

Coast Guard press conferences with Admiral Ribbons in his gold braids and stars and splendid ribbons are one thing.

But to get a little feel for how this is actually playing out on the local level, where the press conferences don't mean diddly, look at this notice and update from the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. A Chamber of Commerce, of course, is not usually the place to be putting out dire news like this.]

And I just saw a news story saying that some people on Pensacola Beach have been throwing tar balls at BP clean-up crews, even though most of the workers are local hires.

The gods of journalism will judge the coverage of this story. It won't be pretty.

[UPDATE, June 25 -- I should add that the Pensacola chamber of commerce is doing a terrific job providing reliable, honest information, including to people who are inclined to visit Pensacola and deciding not to because of the oil. Also, the Pensacola News-Journal newspaper has been excellent. Here's a story from today saying that, while the beach looks like it was cleaned up fully Wednesday overnight, the oil yesterday was sill just an inch or two down in the sand.]


1 comment:

Kurt said...

Loyal reader, Pensacolian, and platinum flyer. To what extent do you think frequent flyers bear responsibility for the disaster? I use more oil than almost anybody else due to my jet-setting ways. Demand equals disaster.