Article below by John Spring:
“If someone of wealth were to destroy your home and critically injure your children, would you accept an offer to completely rebuild your home and to provide complete professional medical care for your loved ones provided that you would never be allowed on your property, surrounded by a very high wall or covered fence, nor permitted to visit your kids or even communicate with them, not knowing if they would live or die, until after the entire project had been completed? Of course, you would probably refuse such an offer because no one would want to be kept in the dark under such severe circumstances–especially without being informed of the actually quality of the work and, more important, the well being of your children.
However, in the case of British Petroleum’s “clean-up” program for the coastal waters and wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico, it appears as if our federal, state and local governments within this disaster area have all agreed to such corporate demands. British Petroleum is not permitting the news media into these coastal waters and wetlands where “clean-up” operations are underway without a special security clearance that would require at least an advanced two-day request prior to being considered for entry. Therefore, our federal, state and local government agencies, in that coastal area, are acting on behalf of British Petroleum rather than for us.
The recent Oscar-winning motion picture producer of Avatar, who has expertise with underwater photography, access to submersible marine craft and valid solutions for this awesome disaster, has been denied permission to enter this critical area in the Gulf of Mexico by British Petroleum. Perhaps, most of you reading this message may not understand my concern because you have not, yet, been provided with adequate information about the significance of coastal waters and wetlands.
When I was a geography student at California State University, Long Beach and later as a graduate student before writing my M.A. thesis titled, The Sunset-Bolsa Chica Area, at California State University, Fullerton, I completed extensive research on marine natural habitat along coastal wetlands, salt marshes and estuaries throughout the United States. My coastal research revealed that nearly every type of ocean fish, sea mammal and waterfowl actually originate in estuaries, wetlands and salt marshes. Within the tall marsh grass or spartina are the nurseries and fisheries for nearly all marine wildlife and many other species of animals living along the coast. The fluctuating tidal action in these wetlands is crucial for life. So if the tidal water circulation is disturbed or if chemical toxins are sprayed on wetlands, the natural habitat or biota can be completely destroyed. One it is destroyed, this refuge for wildlife may never return to any viable conditions. Irreversible become its final status. What I also discovered with my coastal research is that the wetlands, salt marsh and mangrove swamp along the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana, the Pelican State, alone hold about 40 percent of all of the highly-productive ecosystems required for commercial and sport fishing in America’s offshore and coastal waters.
As an economic geographer, I am also concerned about the proposed forthcoming moratorium for all offshore drilling operations along the coasts of the United States because of the adverse impact that it will place upon our nation’s economy during this crucial time. Just as we would never think of punishing or penalizing an entire classroom of children for the unsatisfactory behavior of one spoiled child, neither should we penalize the other oil and gas companies operating offshore with outstanding records and reliable back-up systems due to the unsatisfactory actions and unfair policies of British Petroleum. Yes, I hope to someday drive an electric automobile, but we cannot switchover to an entirely different vehicle overnight.
So unless we as Americans demand full access to all legitimate parties with proper credentials, our highly-sensitive ecosystems may actually be destroyed by British Petroleum’s “clean-up” operations. Because if no one is monitoring how these wetlands, barrier island beaches and salt marshes are actually being cleaned-up, what is there to prevent British Petroleum from bringing in heavy equipment to these sites during the dark hours of night to bury all of the evidence and spray toxic chemicals on all flora and fauna in these designated and restricted coastal areas that are currently “off limits” to the public and concerned citizens.