Meet the new normal on the Gulf Coast, as related by the emergency manager of Gulf Shores, Ala.:
Last year almost two million pounds of BP oil was collected from gulf coast beaches. 380 thousand pounds of that came from Alabama. A quick look at a shell line on West Beach and you can see why.
“When you think of the number of miles of beach that we have and you think of the pounds, that’s not a lot but these things do not weigh much at all. Pick up three pounds of tar balls you got a sack full of tar balls,” says Franklin.
To give you some idea of how quickly things can change on a cleaned beach, clean up crews were here just a few hours ago this morning but already washing up in the surf, a hand full of tar balls.
“Our beaches are clean. It’s not that we do not have oil coming on the beaches but BP crews are here to clean the beaches and we want to make sure they continue to stay here,” says Franklin.
Franklin is pretty blase about this, but do the math. 2 million pounds coming ashore is equal to 1,000 tons — and that’s just the oil that was officially recovered and logged in. We know that these incidents are grossly underreported, as evidenced by the fresh oil that my friend and associate Bonny Schumaker of On Wings of Care routinely discovers on her flyovers. (Which is why it’s important to file reports with the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 when appropriate,)
The oil, remember, from an accident that happened way back in 2010. And Franklin wants to make sure that BP and its crews stick around — can you blame him? This may be situation normal…but it shouldn’t be. The fact that these little packages from BP are showing up everyday on our once-pristine beaches is the reason that those of us who want environmental justice in the Gulf keep fighting, for a fair settlement for our citizens and to ensure that our beaches and our waters are fully restored.
And we won’t stop until the last drop of oil stops coming.
To read more about the BP oil that came shore in 2012, please read: http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2013/jan/10/t-ar-5341076/
© Smith Stag, LLC 2012 – All Rights Reserved