Tuesday, 29 June 2010 13:32
BP Oil Spill: Biden, Jindal, Alex At War With Disaster
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Vice President Biden is visiting the Gulf Goast today under a storm of anger and a natural one in the western part of the Gulf of Mexico.
Across the that region, members of the seafood industry are upset and concerned about the growing desperate plight of their families and businesses.   
As each day goes by, another seafood industry icon closes while the industry  leaders assert that there is plenty of shrimps and fish safe to eat and available to go to market.  
And, as June now makes way for July, and as days of this crises mount, local  government officials are getting more frantic, disillusioned  and upset at what they see as BP and the federal government’s slow, inadequate and sometimes feeble response.   

Before this backdrop is a sense of desperation such that it is hard not to feel the pain of every-day people who know and who live by the waters and who are now grounded.
For instance, as stated in the
“There is little sign of activity at the Point a la Hache marina, where fishing boats sit empty tied up to the dock, as if waiting for something to happen.
Kenny Barthelemy is untying a line from his boat. He’s getting ready to try his luck at finding some oysters to net … and, he doesn’t mince words about what he calls ‘a real bad situation.’
“When I left home, I joined the Coast Guard. I stayed for 10 years then I came home because I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, said Barthelemy. He joined the sheriff’s department but after five years as a deputy, he switched careers again to become a full-time fisherman.
“I wanted to make a living doing what I grew up loving: catching and cooking my own seafood. Now I can’t do anything because of this (BP oil spill).”
Perhaps leading the band of those encumbered by this horror is Louisiana Governor Jindal who sees the fight against nature and that of man as an act of war being fought sometimes by the gang who could not shoot straight.
Yesterday, the day before Vice President Biden touched ground, he entitled his public message that the federal government must ”get into  the war to win” a message he repeated today in front of the Vice President.
Perhaps trying to shape the tenor of Biden’s visit, Jindal said on Monday, the governor said, “Over three weeks ago, The Mayor of Grand Isle and I talked to the President about this plan and we are still fighting to get approval to use the rocks. This is a war against the oil down here. We don’t need more talking. We need more action. If the federal government believes this is a war, they need decide if they're in the war to win it or not.”
If the family and businesses are angry about their fate as Biden chats with the BP oil spill victims and passes on the administration’s message, there is certainly no joy across the Louisiana coast among the families and businesses who are heavily dependent upon the oil and drilling industries and who see their futures blackened every day that drilling moratorium in the gulf is maintained.   
The cry for removing the deep water drilling moratorium imposed  by the Obama administration has been gaining strong and loud voices  even if it appears  the sounds are merely blowing in the counter-winds.
Even today there has been fierce activity in the region in opposition to the moratorium coming from major national organizations. “Following a meeting with Gulf region business leaders in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today intensified its efforts to convince the Obama administration to reconsider its six-month standstill on offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium imposed by the U.S. Department of Interior last month has become a de facto moratorium on all offshore exploration and is leading to thousands of lost jobs and billions of lost government revenue.”
Superimposed upon the cauldron of hot tempers and hopelessness comes a storm named Alex.  What might appear  to be Mother  Nature’s  way to get even for spoiling its  waters, Alex is toying with the BP’s containment efforts.  The storm is raising concerns among coastal inhabitants that  the waters will send oil into fragile waters and put a drill right into the heart of those struggling against the gushing that will not stop any time soon.
While Alex is uncertain if it wants to become a tropical storm or a hurricane and as it fades further west towards the Mexican-Texas border and further away from the oil spill, there is a sense that the first major tropical activity in the gulf this year will disrupt some of the oil containment activities and cause much higher winds and waters.
Whether Alex’s counter-clockwise swill causes more damage to the gulf coast shoreline or break up the oil is uncertain, but from most media reports the storm will slow down operations of a third oil capture system designed to ingest more barrels into the control of BP than the sea waters.
So, in this swash comes the Vice President.  While the President Obama claims that the BP oil spill is a war to be won by the nation there is a public relations war going on  between Governor Jindal, the other gulf  coast elected officials and the administration as  to  whether the US government has even  showed up for the  fight.  
With the seafood industry in shambles and  the oil industry in financial deep waters, Biden is trying to tell the region and the nation that help truly is here and is on the way.  Unfortunately for those fighting  the everyday battles  against an enemy on their shores  from below and now along the Mexican coast,  they feel BP’s and the government’s efforts are too slow, too late, too meek and in some cases too obstructionist to make any difference, whatsoever.

by Stephen Sabludowsky

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