Friday AM May 28th, 2010
by: Ed Mayberry, May 27, 2010 11:05:52 pm
Some 15 national parks, wildlife refuges and state parks in Gulf states are directly threatened by the ongoing BP oil blowout, according to the NRDC report. That includes Padre Island National Seashore and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The spill threatens the livelihoods of fishermen, restaurant workers, charter boat captains and the region's tourism industry. Captain Louis Skrmetta is a ferry pilot for the National Park Service in Gulfport, Mississippi.
"We've been able to survive several hurricanes over the years. But in this case, I don't know if we're going to be able to survive. The oil is slowing approximately 50 miles from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But you probably are aware that the Chandelier Islands, which lie only ten miles south of Gulf Islands National Seashore in Louisiana waters, are now contaminate. And so it's just a matter of time before the oil moves into our area."
Skrmetta says Mississippi's white sand islands have experienced more than a hundred major hurricanes and each time the eco-system has endured, but the oil spill could transform that area into a "dead zone."
"This oil is moving our way, and we need federal intervention, and we cannot trust British Petroleum. You've probably seen the national media in Louisiana that these folks are very, very concerned. The anxiety level here is incredible. The Gulf Coast region is dominated by elected and appointed public officials that are aligned with Bif Oil. Mississippi's two senators are currently fighting legislation to increase the $75 million cap for clean-up and recovery to $10 billion."
Dramatic rate cuts are luring visitors to Gulf Coast resorts, but officials say that could change if the oil actually washes ashore on more popular beaches.