Earlier this year, Al Walker, a veteran Louisiana charter boat captain, took a run out to Grand Isle to see how the cleanup was progressing. What he witnessed turned his stomach – and if you have even the slightest concern for the environment, it will turn yours, too. This video gives you a front-row seat to a bare-knuckle industry assault on one of Louisiana’s most treasured barrier islands.
Although these “sweep it under the rug” operations are running amok from Horn Island to Bay Jimmy to Grand Isle, you won’t see footage like this on CNN.
The scene opens with a long-armed crane towering over the shoreline moving sand, earth, and of course, oil. There’s boom in the water. The roughshod operation is stirring up oil all the way out to Capt. Walker’s boat, sitting about 30 yards offshore. There is weathered oil visible on the surface and several feet below, as the underwater footage reveals.
The video captures what appears to be an operation designed to “cleanup” Grand Isle by removing oiled sand from the shoreline and dumping it – by the truckload – into the water just offshore. The tide eventually carries the oily sediment and tar balls right by Capt. Walker’s boat. The oiled sand and sediment that sink to the bottom will eventually be stirred up by rough surf, and the oil will again come ashore.
Capt. Walker: “There are technologies out there to help prevent this from happening, and our Coast Guard and NOAA refuse to do anything about it.” Well, there’s no doubt about that. The response to this disaster failed miserably in containing and recovering the oil, and implementing some of the newer spill-response technologies could have prevented a lot of oil from washing ashore. Instead, we now see an industry carving up an island and dumping it into the sea (as a method of cleanup).
It is likely that what they’ve been doing on Grand Isle and other barrier islands is illegal – in violation of the Clean Water Act.
As the camera pans left to show a young boy holding a fishing rod and a flock of birds flying overhead, Capt. Walker warns: “That’s what’s in jeopardy, our wildlife – and our children.”
He’s right. If we don’t fully restore the Gulf now, we will leave a legacy of pollution to our children and future generations. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and it’s up to all of us to hold BP accountable for the monstrous damage it has done.
Check out another one of Capt. Walker’s videos, showing the mess BP left in Grand Isle’s marshes: https://www.stuarthsmith.com/video-oil-waste-and-debris-hidden-all-over-grand-isle
See how the Times-Picayune covered the ongoing cleanup efforts, one year after the nightmare began: http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2011/04/a_year_after_bp_oil_spill_clea.html
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