On Day 65 of the oil spill, National Incident Commander Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen reported that BP’s containment cap, in use for the past three weeks, has been removed. A robotic vehicle bumped the cap and caused possible damage to the vent system. (See full story: Problem With Cap Causes More Oil to Gush in Gulf By Liz Robbins, NY Times, June 23, 2010)
This is bad news for Pensacola area residents who are already outraged at the incompetent response to the spewing oil from BP and the federal government.
With the cap in place, about 700,000 gallons of oil had been collected in a 24-hour period. With the cap removed, a worst-case estimate is that about 2.5 million gallons of oil per day is spewing into the gulf. (See full story: Day 65 updates on BP oil spill: Two workers die The Associated Press, June 23, 2010)
The true number lies somewhere in the middle. Any number is bad for Pensacola’s beachgoers.
Pensacola Beach’s Worst Nightmare
On Tuesday night, while Pensacola’s Casino Beach was packed for the “Bands on the Beach” event, oil lurked in the waves. The worst oil invasion yet for Pensacola, about eight miles of pristine beaches were covered with a sticky, gum-like substance. Oil-clad swimmers were upset on Pensacola beach. (Read more here: Gulf Oil Spill: Pensacola Beach Covered in Tar Balls by Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, June 23, 2010)
Screaming for Skimmer Boats
Skimmer boats could be seen off Pensacola Beach, but there weren’t nearly enough vessels to stop the oil invasion. Residents continue asking, “Where Are the Skimmer Boats?”
There have been multiple formal requests for additional skimmer boats to be deployed to Florida, including a direct request to Barack Obama from Florida senator George LeMieux and congressman Jeff Miller.(See video of Senator LeMieux and Congressman Miller discussing the need for skimmers)
Outraged at the federal government’s failure to protect Florida’s shores from the oncoming oil, LeMieux sent a letter to Admiral Thad Allen asking for a public update on the number of skimmer vessels deployed to Florida. Roughly 25 skimmer boats have been confirmed to protect Florida. (Read more here: Gulf Oil Mess, Day 65: Obama refuses to answer Florida Senator LeMieux’s request for skimmers by Hank Richards at allvoices.com)
Obviously, that’s not enough. Oil has penetrated the inland waterways along Alabama and northwest Florida’s coasts.
Pensacola area residents are venting at BP and at the President. Barack Obama continues to place union wants over environmental needs, failing to waive the Jones Act, which would allow foreign skimmer boats to help protect and clean the coast. Residents are outraged blaming Obama for making things worse.(Read more here: Gulf Oil Disaster Is Now Your Fault, Barack Obama by Boudreaux LeChatt, Associated Content)
The Next Victim: Inland Waterways
Once oil enters the bays, inland waterways and estuaries are the next victims. I live along a beautiful inland waterway in the Pensacola area. Our Gulf Breeze neighborhood is worried about the wildlife dependent upon the marshland and canal system of our community. Great blue herons, pelicans, terns, cormorants, and loons are frequent visitors to our waterway. The canal system serves as an estuary for redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout, flounder, shrimp and more. (See a slideshow of the waterway and marshland here.)
Currently, there is no protective barrier for the canal system at the Villa Venyce subdivision and the adjacent marshland to the west. There are many similar canal communities facing the same fate.
At Day 65, the minimal help that had been in place, BP’s temporary cap, has been damaged and removed. Pensacola area residents know that the worst is yet to come. And, in the back of everyone’s mind is the “H” word as we look ahead to peak hurricane season.
Problem With Cap Causes More Oil to Gush in Gulf By Liz Robbins, NY Times
Day 65 updates on BP oil spill: Two workers die, The Associated Press
Gulf oil spill: Pensacola Beach covered in tar balls by Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer, The Christian Science Monitor
Youtube video or Senator LeMieux and Congressman Jeff Miller:
Information about Skimmer Boat Requests gleaned from the Facebook posts of Congressman Jeff Miller
Senator George LeMieux’s website:
Gulf Oil Mess, Day 65: Obama refuses to answer Florida Senator LeMieux’s request for skimmers by Hank Richards at allvoices.com)
Gulf Oil Disaster is Now Your Fault, Barack Obama by Boudreaux LeChatt, Associated Content
Additional stories by Gina Covell Maddox sited in this story:
“Where are the Skimmer Boats?” Oil Enters Pensacola Bay: Plans to Protect Inland Waterways Fail
“Slideshow of waterway and marshland.” Blue Heron Habitat in Gulf Breeze Threatened by Gulf Oil Disaster