Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not Getting It

BONUS: House Republicans don't get it, either.


I don’t think these people understand.

Via Athenae, I meet this asshole, who thinks the oil spill currently destroying the Gulf of Mexico is “beautiful patterns” and “a great show.”

Sure, in the same way Nashville’s flood created some really great waterfront property. “With view.” Right. Or the way you can really see the sunset when those mountains and trees finally get cleared out of the way.

I mean, seriously?

Then yesterday I saw this Tweet from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson:

Excuse me? The “way of life” of Gulf residents? Hey lady, these aren’t the Amish we’re talking about here, with the cute clothes and the horse and buggy transportation. This is the economy of a three state area. This is fishing, tourism, shrimpers, an oyster industry -- and all of the industries that depend on them. I’m talking processors, canners, you name it. This isn’t a quaint little “way of life,” this is the freaking entire coastal economy in three, maybe even four, states.

And then we have this from McClatchy:
Florida congressman: Oil spill might last four months

Hate to be the one to break it to you, Congressman, but you’re in for a much longer haul than that. Look at Alaska’s Prince William Sound, site of 1989’s ExxonValdez disaster. Twenty years later, highly toxic oil still pollutes the area, and

”At this rate, the remaining oil will take decades and possibly centuries to disappear entirely."

Eleven years after the spill, biologists detected still abnormally-high mortality rates among sea otters (More on sea otter mortality here). Let me remind everyone: sea otters are not just cute little animals that are nice to have around because they make great images for Hallmark cards. This is a living ecosystem we are talking about. Sea otters play an important role. They are “a keystone carnivore.” They are important to maintaining the balance of an ecosystem so stuff we humans like to eat can also continue to exist.

I wonder how many “keystone carnivores” in the Gulf of Mexico will be affected?

Twenty years later, things may look pretty in Alaska, but the Sound is still severely damaged:

Visitors can see spectacular, unspoiled vistas of islands surrounded by blue-green waters and mountain-rimmed fjords. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council lists nine species -- including bald eagles, loons and cormorants -- as fully recovered from the disaster.

But pockets of oil -- an estimated 16,000 gallons, according to federal researchers -- remain buried in small portions of the intertidal zone hard hit by the spill. Seven distinct species, including sea otters, killer whales and clams, still are considered to be "recovering" from the initial effects of the oil.

And herring, a cornerstone species of the Sound's ecosystem, is one of two species considered as "not recovering" by the council, the joint federal-state group established to oversee restoration.

The herring population's failure to rebound has emerged as among the most perplexing ecological mysteries of the spill's legacy.

Herring are a prime source of protein for marine mammals, birds and many fish. They also were a major source of income for Renner and other fishermen.

Exxon says because the herring population appeared to be on the way toward recovery three years after the spill before plummeting drastically, that proves that 11 million gallons of oil are not to blame for the economy of Cordova, Alaska hitting the shitter and the failure of loads of species to return to pre-spill levels. Not their fault, oh no! Except 20 years after the fact there’s still 16,000 gallons of ExxonValdez oil washing ashore in Prince William Sound. Still.

Kinda similar to how our media today tells us that dead dolphins appearing on Gulf Coast beaches and dozens of dead sea turtles may have died of natural causes. Don't worry, be happy!

Look, you don’t mess with an ecosystem on a grand scale such as what we’re seeing happen down in the Gulf of Mexico and not expect there to be massive, longterm repercussions. The failure of the media to report on this is just astounding.

Of course, downplaying the seriousness of the Gulf Oil spill is SOP for the MSM. FAIR has done a nice little rundown of the press coverage which followed the ExxonValdez spill. Sad, but a must read. Seriously, et tu National Geographic?

At year's end, National Geographic (1/90) provided an authoritative sum­mary gloss for "the worst tanker spill in U.S. history and a six-month, billion dollar cleanup effort." The cover story--"Alaska's Big Spill: Can the Wilderness Heal?"--featured 40 pages of sumptuous photos and earnestly toned text... which never got around to faulting Exxon for much of anything. The article did nothing to offend oil companies such as Chevron, which had a full-page ad in the same issue. "Sooner or later, through human error or simply through the perils of the sea, spilled oil will assault another shore," the story stated. "And sooner or later, the damage will have to be left to nature to repair."

Yeah, sooner or later. That was written in January 1990. We had 20 years to do something and yet we sat on our hands.

Our bad.