Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill

The ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico not only threatens fishing, wildlife and beaches, it also impacts Civil War history. The coastline is home to fortifications including Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip in Louisiana, Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan in Alabama, and Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas in Florida. Tourists flocking to the once pristine beaches take a break from sunbathing to visit these historic sites and learn about the Civil War. The empty beaches and restaurants will drastically reduce needed revenue for the maintenance of these areas.

As a veteran of the oil and gas industry, I am enraged at BP's disregard of safe operations. The problem is evidence of BP's emphasis on profitability at all costs. We can only hope that our government will force BP to restore beaches and rescue the endangered species including those who earned their livelihood from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

We recognize the inherent risk associated with exploring for oil and gas, but believe that a moratorium on drilling penalizes the industry for the actions of one poorly operated company, hurts the local economy by adding oil field employees to the list of those Gulf Coast residents hurt by the disaster, and increases our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. We applaud the decision of the New Orleans judge who put aside the ban.

The environmental disaster caused my family's vacation plans at Gulf Shores to be cancelled. I can only wonder when I will be able to return to the Alabama coast to enjoy the beach and take my grandchildren to Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines.

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