Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The oil is coming . . .

The of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, ran this story yesterday. And I thought I'd just cut and paste it into this blog as it's so short and, to me, makes such a powerful comment about the damage being wrought by the BP oil spill.
BP opens claims office in Chauvin
Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 4:05 p.m.
HOUMA – A new BP claims office has been set up in Chauvin.
At the outreach office, 5703 La. 56, you can make a claim for damages or loss of income because of the ongoing Gulf of Mexico spill, which has resulted after the Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers April 20.
To file a claim to BP, you can call 800-440-0858 or visit local claims centers. Be sure to bring a picture ID and other business records to prove your income over previous years.
- Grand Isle Community Center, 3811 La. 1, Grand Isle. Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Sunday
- Plaza Caillou Shopping Center, 814 Grand Caillou Road, suites 2 and 3, Houma. Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
- Old marine business, 5703 La. 56, Chauvin. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Sunday.

If you've got a moment, read Betsy Gordon's paper for the Louisiana Folklife Society on decorating for the annual Shrimp Blessing in Chauvin, Louisiana. It's a good way to take a look at shrimping country people, celebrating their way of life.

Chauvin, a part of Terrebone Parish, sits (as you  can see in the map above) precariously in the Louisiana swamps, where the BP oil appears to be headed.  I think it's fair to say that its economic viability is already marginal. The median income for a family is $28,897. About 17.1% of families and 20.1% of the population live below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 27.5% of those age 65 or over. These appear to be people without many resources to fall back on now that fishing activity is curtailed.

The lead story today in the Miami Herald, at the time I'm writing this post, is called The Oil Spill is getting worse. There are also stories headed Oil spill fears focus on Florida Keys, and Gulf oil spill leaves scientists in uncharted territory. And there's a front-page editorial that opines Don't allow emotions to stifle oil-spill options, which begins,
The term ``nuclear option'' has become synonymous with a last-resort action in trying to solve a problem. When it comes to the Gulf oil spill, its meaning is quite literal.
Talk of using an underwater nuclear explosion to seal the oil well leaking from the ocean floor has been gathering momentum since news reports emerged recently that the Russians have used the tactic at least five times to seal off gas-well fires. Now the idea is being pushed by some U.S. observers as well.
``It would definitely work,'' says Christopher Brownfield, a visiting scholar at Columbia University who studies global nuclear policy . . .
I'm normally obsessed with politics, and today I was all set to write about the aftermath of yesterday's primaries. But then I saw that article in about Chauvin, and that other article in the Miami Herald about the threatened Florida Keys, and that editorial about the nuclear option, and I got to thinking about oil, instead -- about the massive destruction and the many wars we've fought because of our complete societal and financial dependence upon it. Oil literally fuels our economy, faltering as it is under the weight of greed and mismanagement. And those four primaries began to look fairly unimportant next to this massive blob of oil that threatens Chauvin, the Florida Keys, and who knows what else in and around the ocean.

All these politicians running for all these offices, offering solutions to every problem other than our oil dependence. Perhaps it's time for every last one of them to pay a visit to Chauvin.

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