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  4. Louisiana five years after BP oil spill: 'It's not going back to normal no time soon'

This issue of Green Watch looks at the spill-related campaigns initiated by activist and advocacy groups, and examines how they may affect BP, the American public and the U. On April 20, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 employees, injured nearly 20 others, and caused an oil spill that released an estimated five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, bringing environmental damage and economic distress to coastal communities from Louisiana to Florida. On July 12, the U. Unfortunately, a number of U. As a result of this largesse, BP received relatively gentle pre-Gulf spill treatment from green groups, even as they went after other energy-producing companies.

The spill has radically altered the relationship between BP and the green movement. Besides the pressure from pending civil lawsuits, media inquiries and demands by regulators, investigators, and federal and state elected officials, BP faces protests and demonstrations coordinated by left-wing activists who demand that the company be nationalized — that all BP-owned property be seized by the U. Because BP is a British company, the media there has taken more interest in the nationalization campaign than American outlets.

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However, no one seems seriously worried that President Obama or leftwing firebrands in Congress would attempt a nationalization campaign. A society that values individual rights should not give liable parties a free pass. This boycott effort will have economic consequences—but not for BP.

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There are about BP gas stations linked to convenience stores located in nine U. Jackson has plenty of entrepreneurs to target and harass. The current president is Robert Weissman, a longtime Nader associate. When asked whether a boycott will hurt independently-owned BP stations, Public Citizen has a stark answer: Any boycott is necessarily going to hurt some innocent parties, and any organization calling for a boycott and any person engaging in a boycott must take that into account. Public Citizen goes so far as to claim that its boycott of small business is a way to help independent station owners turn against BP, so that they will abandon the BP brand-name and join another chain of gas stations.

Whether this will happen remains to be seen.

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  • 8 Long Term Economic and Environmental Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill.
  • The seizure and boycott campaigns are small parts of a larger story that concerns how nonprofit environmental advocacy groups are using the Gulf spill to flex their political muscle in national politics. Undoubtedly environmental activists expect President Obama to be on their side. It could be described as an effort to force the U. The environmentalist reaction to Waxman-Markey was mixed. Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth opposed the bill as a major disappointment that did not go far enough.

    These divisions mean little, however, when the bill is put in perspective.

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    Green activists have a foot in the door. On July 21, Politico. Green morale fell further on July 23 in a major bout of finger-pointing. Environmental groups blamed insufficient leadership by the White House. White House officials blamed the environmental groups for failing to secure Republican support. At this point, environmental groups will urge the public to start thinking about producing more alternative fuels.

    In fact, Americans have thought a lot about high energy prices in recent years. Moreover, they are using the Gulf oil spill to propose for the first time to federalize the permit process for onshore oil and gas drilling. In addition, Horner says the greens would, in effect, have Congress prohibit future offshore oil and gas drilling with support from panicky Republicans. We have hit rock-bottom in our fossil fuel addiction. This tragedy should be a wake up call.

    On the same day Maggie L. Many organizations within the NGO community are poised to apply this significant and sustained pressure, but they need the support of foundations and other funders to do so. One of the most immediate — and most important — areas where imminent drilling must be stopped is in the fragile Arctic marine ecosystem , where a disaster of this magnitude could have equally dire consequences, and where no capacity to mount any serious response is currently in place.

    Reckless Endangerment: The Gulf Oil Spill Revisited - Susan Shaw at TEDxMidAtlantic

    Or consider this Environmental Defense Fund website message to its supporters: America must transition our energy economy to clean, reliable, renewable energy sources as quickly as possible. The Senate must do its part and pass a strong climate and energy bill now to unleash our clean energy future.

    Nor do they acknowledge the economic hardship the current drilling moratorium imposes on states already reeling from hard times. On July 21, 11, people gathered in Lafayette to rally against the federal offshore drilling moratorium. City official Joey Durel said it best: Besides the lost jobs at home, an offshore drilling moratorium will increase U. Canada supplies the U. However, most foreign suppliers are far less reliable than peaceful and democratic Canada, which cannot supply all U. Any drilling restrictions our government puts on U. In , for example, many Arab oil producers cut back on energy exports generally and to the U.

    The cut-backs turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the oil crisis, when Arab oil producers formally embargoed the U. The embargo started in October and ended in March The pain at the gas pump for American consumers was almost intolerable — the price of a barrel of oil increased per cent by Average Americans, once again, would pay an extremely high price. Green non-profits that preach energy austerity and recommend bans on oil drilling get all the headlines. But not every nonprofit sees the BP Gulf oil spill as an opportunity put the American economy through the wringer. Students on field trips to islands in Prince William Sound devastated by the spill often uncover rocks soiled in oil with little effort.

    An estimated 20, gallons of oil remain from the spill. Alaskans also see uncomfortable parallels as BP takes heat for allegedly downplaying the initial threat of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico after a drilling rig exploded. A similar scenario unfolded in after the Valdez disaster. That seems to be what's happening in the gulf. It is still too early to know what the lasting effects of the Gulf Coast spill will be. The well is spewing an estimated , gallons of oil a day and is on pace to quickly eclipse the Exxon Valdez spill as the worst oil disaster in U.

    The environmental effects of the current spill will be different in some ways from what happened in Alaska.

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    The warmer temperatures in the Gulf will help the oil degrade faster, and marsh and sand in Louisiana may react differently than Alaska's gravel and rock beaches. But coastal towns no doubt will clearly feel the pain of a spill. The coastal communities in the Gulf of Mexico rely heavily on shrimp, oyster and other types of fishing just like Alaska towns rely on salmon and herring.

    To keep track of the Gulf of Mexico oil slick, visit www.

    Louisiana five years after BP oil spill: 'It's not going back to normal no time soon'

    To see updated projection maps related to the oil spill in the Gulf, visit the Deepwater Horizon Response Web site established by government officials. Volunteers eager to help cope with the spill and lessen its impact on the Gulf Coast environment and economy.

    If you have suggestions for a story, or if you belong to an organization in need of such help, please call Press-Register Editor Mike Marshall at or email him at mmarshall press-register. Exxon Valdez oil in recent years has shown up in sea otters and harlequin ducks. Some species never recovered.

    Though it was never definitively proven that killer whales were affected by the spill, "They dramatically lost abundance right during the spill and after the spill," said Craig Tillery, a member of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council who has worked on the spill since the week it happened. Pacific herring, which spawned in heavily contaminated areas, were hard hit. Herring made a short comeback, but remain classified as "not recovering. Jones' group commissioned studies to see how the spill affected people in small communities where fishing gives people their identity.