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I'd love to add a sputtering rant or a sad, poetic meditation, but, frankly, I'm bled pretty dry in those departments where the subject is concerned.

Still, I wanted to pass on a few pieces of recent perusal.

Nearly Four Years After The BP Oil Spill, Long-Term Health Impacts Remain Unclear

Some 33,000 people, including Barisich, are participating in a massive federal study that aims to determine any short or possible long-term health effects related to the spill.

"We know from ... research that's been done on other oil spills, that people one to two years after ... had respiratory symptoms and changes in their lung function, and then after a couple of years people start to return to normal," said Dr. Dale Sandler, who heads the study overseen by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, an arm of the National Institutes of Health.

"What nobody's ever done is ask the question: Well, after five years or 10 years are people more likely to develop heart disease, or are they more likely to get cancer?" Sandler said in an interview with The Associated Press. "And I'm sure that's what people who experienced this oil spill are worried about."

BP oil spill choked off important pelican nesting sites on Louisiana coast

Before the Deepwater Horizon blew out on April 20, 2010, brown pelicans were living the good life in southeast Louisiana as one of the great wildlife comeback stories. In 1963 not a single brown pelican could be found in the state due to impacts from the fertilizer DDT.  The comeback started in 1968 when the state began transplanting birds from Florida, and populations began to soar after DDT was banned in 1972. Thanks to the abundant food in one of the world’s most productive fisheries, by 2010 their numbers were thought to be near historic levels, as high of 85,000.*...

For several months after the spill, the mangroves looked healthy. The following spring brought signs of an accelerating calamity. The mangroves on the edges of the islands — the ones most heavily oiled — were dying. By the end of that summer, plants deeper into the flats were turning brown. By the second spring few were left alive.

Without the mangrove roots to hold the soil together, waves quickly eroded the islands. Three have washed away completely, including the original Cat Island; two others are now short, narrow sand bars with just months to live. Only one still has enough mangroves and elevation to host nesters — and that population is down to a few hundred.

Since long before the Deepwater Horizon blew up, an ongoing problem in our state has been the alarming rate of coastal erosion (about a Manhattan's worth of land per year), caused, in large part, by exploration and equipment canals dug by oil companies and left to widen. The state requires that companies ameliorate damage from canal dredging, but does nothing about it.

Because the state profits from it.


And beneath the wetlands are millions of barrels of oil and gas that for decades have provided a vital economic lifeline for the area, and for families including Carlin Trahan’s. While not everyone in Vermilion Parish is fortunate enough to own mineral rights, the oil and gas industry nonetheless permeates every crevice of the area’s sparsely populated 1,500 square miles — employing its residents as drillers and maintenance men and helping fill up its hotel rooms, restaurants and Walmarts.

But now, as miles of Louisiana coast disappear each year, Vermilion Parish residents fear they’re starting to lose that way of life, and the money required to live it.

A set of laws unique to Louisiana allows the state to claim the minerals found under any navigable body of water. That has troubling implications for landowners in Vermilion Parish and every other coastal region of the state. The laws mean that as more land becomes submerged under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico each year, more and more money that once flowed from oil and gas drilling companies to the bank accounts of landowners now flows directly into the coffers of the state.  

Still, we are told constantly by the Polluter's Pals (aka the governor and legislature) that we can't afford not to keep drilling. After all, think of the jobs!

But what if there were other jobs, jobs which themselves were dedicated to healing the scars left by this Hell?

Restoring Coastal Ecosystems Creates More Jobs than Offshore Oil Development

Restoring coastal ecosystems can provide significant economic benefits and even create “pathways out of poverty” for low-income Americans, according to a new report.

The report, published Wednesday by the Center for American Progress and Oxfam America, looked at three coastal restoration projects on different coasts in the U.S. and found that, for every $1 invested in coastal restoration projects, $15 in net economic benefits was created. These benefits include improved fish stocks, due to the fact that 75 percent of the U.S.’s most important commercial fish species rely on coastal environments at some point in their life cycle, with many young fish and crustaceans using habitats such as oyster reefs as nurseries.

Coastal restoration also provides increased protection from storm surges, improved coastal recreation opportunities, health benefits from increased levels of filter feeders such as oysters, and last of all, jobs: for every $1 million invested in coastal restoration, the report notes, 17 jobs were created on average. That’s almost double the 8.9 created per $1 million invested in offshore oil and gas development.

Still, while those might be numerous and well-paying jobs, it's doubtful those workers will make enough to spend unlimited McCutcheon Money to elect congresscritters and senatoids, so don't hold your breath.

On second thought, maybe you should.

Originally posted to Crashing Vor on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing and Climate Change SOS.

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