Oil is still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, but Market Watch reports that BP hopes to have a cap in place by July 15 that “could capture up to 80,000 barrels of oil a day, believed to be more than the entire output of the riser.” BP is currently drilling a relief well, anticipated to be complete by August, that would “act as the permanent solution for the renegade pipe.”
Cleanup in the Gulf is ongoing, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that “BP recovered a total of 25,150 barrels of oil” yesterday. But “Government and independent scientists estimate that about 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil a day are flowing from the well.”
We haven’t yet addressed the BP spill in a full-length post on Strollerderby, and what is there to say really, besides the fact that it’s catastrophic and devastating? In order for most of us to wrap our heads around a tragedy of this magnitude, we need to put a face on it. And I may have just found a little girl who can become the poster child for the Gulf oil spill.
A citizen reporter identified on YouTube only as Craig, took this video footage last week at Destin Beach on Florida’s Emerald Coast. It starts a little slow, but give it some time (or skip to 2:00) until you see Eva, the little girl in question, with her feet covered in oil screaming, “Mommy! Get it off! Get the oil off!” Her mother replies, “I can’t get it off, Eva,” and then mentions having brought Goo-Gone with her to the beach.
Interestingly, the women Craig interviews say that the oil their children are playing in was not on the beach earlier in the day. Like many Northerners, I’m stunned that anyone would let their children play in oil-filled water, but my fellow SD blogger Sandy, who grew up in Galveston, TX, says, “Tar balls were a fact of life. The water was usually brown and stinky, too. Didn’t stop us from going in.”
According to CNN, “A health advisory was issued Thursday for all beaches in Escambia County, including Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key and parts of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.” Escambia County is near Walton County, where the video was taken. The Pensacola Visitor’s Bureau website says, “The advisory was issued due to reports of extensive tar balls, oil mousse and oil sheen in the water. Swimming is not prohibited but swimmers are warned they swim at their own risk.”
I wonder if the fact that these beaches remain open despite the clear presence of oil in the water and on shore doesn’t reflect a greater sense of laissez-faire about the whole BP spill among our citizens, corporate citizens and government. I know I feel a sense of urgency about it coupled with a simultaneous feeling of helplessness. My friend, comedy producer Carol Hartsell, who hails from Alabama, posted a Facebook status the other day that read, “Nuke the well. Cancel all government contracts with BP. Declare the entire Gulf Coast a disaster area. Recall every automobile that gets less than 30 MPG. Pass a law requiring every auto manufacturer to convert half of its plants to hybrid, electric or some other alternative facility. Cancel every single permutation of the Real Housewives.” Her quote ends with a suggestion that if her demands aren’t met, the powers-that-be should go expletive themselves, indicating the real frustration felt by many about the lack of any comprehensive and immediate response to this spill.
How do you feel? Should we all just keep on vacationing amongst the tar like it’s no big deal? Or is it time to take a stand against big oil?