The blowout of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana has brought another disaster to the public’s attention. The disaster is the largest spill in the United States since the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation and there have been rumors and speculation as well. It is certain that the spill will have a major ecological affect and there will be loss of marine life, however, there is also a major hit on the economical side too. crews are rushing to cap the leak, contain the spill, and clean up. This will take a while to do and there are some ramifications that will affect almost every person from the spill.
The oil rig was leased to BP LP and owned by Transocean to drill crude off the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The news of the disaster. The stock prices have fallen as a result of the accident, according to the website Daily Finance, in which 11 people are now presumed dead. For BP and Transocean, the impact is immediate and sharp since the oil has continued to spew from beneath the Gulf of Mexico. The crude oil that is causing the massive oil slick is costing these companies in lost revenue and in the clean up. The US Coast Guard is in charge of the spill and have hired companies that specialize in oil spill clean up. These companies specialties include using boats to skim the water off the surface and aircraft that spray dispersants over the spill that break up the oil. Crews for these companies are working around the clock in a frantic effort to help contain and clean up the spill that has reached, according to MSNBC as of 3:00 PM CDT on April 27, 2010, an area the size of Delaware. The costs of the spill from the lost revenue and clean up is going to affect people at the pumps which already have high prices adding more grief to the beleagured driving public. Not only is it going to affect the fuel prices but it will also have an effect in manufacturing.
Many of the plastics we use require petroleum to be produced. This will mean higher prices in the manufacturing as well as in the transportation of the plastics to the marketplace. Along the Gulf Coast, many people make a living harvesting seafood. There are already oyster beds that have been declared unsafe for human consumption since the spill began. Shrimpers and commercial fishermen, who have seen their industries suffer in the past two decades from bad weather and cheaper foreign competition, are going having to find new spots to collect their source of income. Currently the spill is drifting eastward and could potentially reach land from Grand Isle, Louisiana to Pensacola, Florida. The possibility also exists that the winds could change and bring the direction of the oil flow westward and affect the fragile marshes along the Louisiana coast. Timbalier Island, a barrier island in Terrebonne Parish, has seen its size dwindle due to erosion over the past 40 plus years.
There are not many beaches in Louisiana, however, there are many in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida that could see a potential loss in tourism dollars that the communities on and around the beaches depend on. With the summer months coming, salt water fishing usually sees a rise in participation. The scarcity of fish in the area can affect how well the fishing is. Grand Isle, Louisiana has an annual Tarpon Rodeo that attracts people from many points on the globe to this tiny island community. The lack of fish and the fears of people having to dodge an oil slick could force people to stay home. The Gulf Coast relies heavily on tourism for the local economies to survive.
The people in Houma, Louisiana are waiting with baited breath for the latest news of this spill. Some of the workers on the Deepwater Horizon live in Houma. The oil field is a major source of revenue for the area and the largest industry. Some of the crew members will likely be reassigned to other rigs and some will, unfortunately, have to find another job in an area that has seen a slow down in employment. With the possibility of some people being out of work, Houma’s second and third largest industries could be adversely affected by this spill too. Retail and hospitality, having already seen their revenues dwindle since the summer of 2009, could see fewer customers visit their businesses.
The good news in all of this is that these are most likely short term issues. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has asked officials with BP, which has offices and a major training facility in Houma, to lay out containment booms to help reduce the amount of oil that reaches land. Containment booms are like giant Q-tips that absorb the oil and filter it out of the water. Skimming boats are doing their best despite the weather and rough seas not cooperating with their efforts. The aircraft that are working in the spill clean up are spraying the sheen with a chemical called Corexit which is manufactured by Nalco out of Sugar Land, Texas. The dispersant Corexit breaks the oil down and is biodegradable.The effort is a race against time to stop the oil spill and rebuild. The spill may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to clean up but no matter how long it takes, its immediate effects are starting to be felt.