Five years ago – Deep Horizon

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June 6, 2010; originally published at “If Mom Says OK”

Today, I wept.

tarcollage_TSN

The outer edge of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the Panhandle of Florida.

I walked the beaches of Navarre, a few miles southeast of Pensacola and found small tar balls at the tide line. I walked the length of the newly reopened Navarre Pier and saw ribbons of brown oil spreading it tentacles toward the shore where families played, surfed and swam.

BP Deepwater oil slick
spill10b_TSN

Until today I have been silent about the oil spill. I felt that there was little I could contribute to the many thousands of reports already published. I had no answers. I could only grit my teeth, curse the ineffective actions by all concerned to stop the leak, and pray it would be stemmed some way, some how.

It hasn’t, and I can’t sit around any longer just twiddling my thumbs. The spill is at my back door and I have to do something.

There is too much to lose.

Five years ago on April 20, 2010, an explosion aboard the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig, in the Gulf of Mexico, dumped nearly 5 million barrels (equal to about 210 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf, contaminating the beaches of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. An estimated $37 billion in damages were reported.

I originally published this pictorial when the spill made landfall near Pensacola, FL, close to where I live. The beaches are now restored, but sticky, tar balls still wash ashore. Many businesses remain closed, and the spill continues to have negative effects on the local fishing industry. Health issues that can be linked to the spill also continue for many residents. The extent of the devastation to the economy and wildlife of the region, and to its human residents, may never be fully known.

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