Monday, May 3, 2010

Oh baby, please don't drill

Posted By on Mon, May 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM

click to enlarge Gulf Shores

I grew up in Alabama where Gulf Shores was "the beach." It's where we played in the sugar-white sand, frolicked in the sea-foam green water and where my paternal grandfather made ends meet as a shrimper.

To me, no place was more beautiful.

But the last time I visited, roughly seven years ago, I vowed to never return. Why? Because the once lovely view was scarred by oil rigs just off shore. I decided to preserve my fond childhood memories and find a new beach.

Now look what Gulf Shores is threatened with:

Oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico unabated Saturday, and officials conveyed little hope that the flow could be contained soon, forcing towns along the Gulf Coast to brace for what is increasingly understood to be an imminent environmental disaster.

The spill, emanating from a pipe 50 miles offshore and 5,000 feet underwater, was creeping into Louisiana’s fragile coastal wetlands as strong winds and rough waters hampered cleanup efforts. Officials said the oil could hit the shores of Mississippi and Alabama as soon as Monday.

Many variables will dictate just how devastating this slick will ultimately be to the ecosystem, including whether it takes days or months to seal the leaking oil well and whether winds keep blowing the oil ashore. But what is terrifying everyone from bird watchers to the state officials charged with rebuilding the natural protections of this coast is that it now seems possible that a massive influx of oil could overwhelm and kill off the grasses that knit the ecosystem together.

Healthy wetlands would have some natural ability to cope with an oil slick, said Denise Reed, interim director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans. “The trouble with our marshes is they’re already stressed, they’re already hanging by a fingernail,” she said.

It is possible, she said, that the wetlands’ “tolerance for oil has been compromised.” If so, she said, that could be “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Read the rest of this New York Times article, by Leslie Kaufman and Campbell Robertson, here.

Not only are off-shore drilling platforms an eyesore, they're hazardous to everything that breathes. And, as communities along the Gulf Coast can attest, when things go wrong, local economies can be destroyed.

We don't want this nightmare here. Just say no to oil drilling off the coast of North Carolina. Contact your representatives in Raleigh. Make your next car an electric car or a hybrid. (I bought a Ford Fusion Hybrid this year.) Drive less. Walk more. Use less plastic — it's made from petroleum products after all.

In fact, click here for a list of a few of the things made using oil for evidence of society's full-on addiction to crude.

Voting with your dollars is one of the most powerful things you can do to pry America's claws off the oil teet.

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