4 days ago, 04/23/2015 at 3:51pm
Just 5 years ago, we were all watching the northern Gulf of Mexico and wondering whether it was possible for the growing oil slick off the Louisiana coast to land on our white sand beaches here in Southwest Florida.
It seemed impossible. Surely the well would be capped in just a day or two. But it wasn’t.
We struggled to wrap our heads around the idea of thousands of gallons of oil gushing out of a well. Every day. Day after day. Even now, there are debates as to how much oil was spilled.
What we do know is that 11 men died when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010. The Macondo well, 5,000 feet below the surface, began to spew oil into the Gulf and continued for 87 days until it was finally capped on July 15th.
We witnessed the largest ever marine oil spill in the oil industry. The cost to wildlife, the Gulf itself and the livelihoods of Gulf Coast residents was enormous.
Five years later, there is a desire to wrap it all up, count the costs and move on. But that’s still not possible. The financial costs are one thing, the biological costs another. There are still marshes that ooze oil and are so toxic, even insects avoid them. Cat Island, off the coast of Louisiana, once a thriving bird rookery, is now washing away. Oil covered the island’s tree roots after the spill, killing them. Without the trees, the island is washing away. That’s just one island.
Here in our area, we know the costs of the spill on the tourism industry, our lifeblood. News of the spill spread around the globe.