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Intro: "In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout last year, BP repeatedly misled the public about how much oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the blowout, company executives would like us to believe that the spill has been cleaned up and the Gulf of Mexico is back to normal. The people who actually live along the Gulf Coast tell us something different. In a powerful new documentary airing on Saturday on Planet Green called 'Stories From the Gulf,' residents make it clear they are still suffering the aftermath of the largest oil spill in American history."

Robert Redford speaks out about the impact of the BP Gulf oil spill on area residents. (photo: ecosalon.com)
Robert Redford speaks out about the impact of the BP Gulf oil spill on area residents. (photo: ecosalon.com)



Impact of Gulf Spill Persists

By Robert Redford, Reader Supported News

23 April 11

 

In New Film, Residents of the Gulf Say Impact of Spill Persists

n the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout last year, BP repeatedly misled the public about how much oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the blowout, company executives would like us to believe that the spill has been cleaned up and the Gulf of Mexico is back to normal.

The people who actually live along the Gulf Coast tell us something different.

In a powerful new documentary airing on Saturday on Planet Green called 'Stories From the Gulf,' residents make it clear they are still suffering the aftermath of the largest oil spill in American history.

The movie is based on interviews produced by NRDC and Bridge the Gulf and recorded by Story Corps. I had the opportunity to provide the opening narration for the film, but most of the voices come right out of the Gulf.

Finally, the people whose voices were so often drowned out by BP's multimillion dollar PR machine have a chance to speak for themselves.

They describe the struggle to feed their families after fishing grounds were closed and tourism dried up. Captain Darla Rooks talks about the persistent rashes, headaches, and other illnesses she's experienced after coming into contact with oil and dispersants.

Rosina Philippe laments the dead porpoises and star fish she still sees washing ashore. Eric Tiser says, "I've been in the bayou my whole life, and ain't never seen so much dead stuff in the last six months."

These Gulf Coast residents also worry what the spill will do to the future health of marine life. "My community is a fishing community," says Wendy Billiot. "And we're concerned about the long-reaching effects that the dispersants are going to have on the seafood. Are the fish going to continue to follow their life cycles? Are they going to grow past the larval stage? How much of all of these natural resources are going to be affected long-term? I think it's a lot of question marks."

Uncertainty weighs heavily on most of the people in the film. "I never thought at the time that it would impact us the way it has," says Ryan Lambert. "After 30 years of building the largest guide business on the Gulf Coast, here we are down 90-something percent, we're going to have to rebrand and put the perception that everything is fine. But how do you do that if you don't know that it's fine?"

Listening to people describe how much the bayou means to them, you realize how painful it must be not to know if their way of life can survive. But to know that the damage was wrought not by the caprice of a hurricane but by the greed and negligence of oil companies is just plain infuriating.

Numerous investigations, including President Obama's National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, found that while BP, Halliburton, and Transocean made many reckless decisions before the blowout, the entire oil and gas industry lacks a culture of safety and risk assessment. The federal government, in turn, lacks the power and capacity to oversee offshore drilling.

The oil industry, the government, and Congress must take steps to strengthen the safeguards that protect workers and the Gulf environment. America, meanwhile, must reduce the addiction to oil that drives companies into ever riskier conditions, like the deepwater.

But even as we put these changes in place, we must not disregard the people on the frontlines of this spill. We must not minimize their struggle or the sense of loss and sorrow that persists to this day.

Instead, we should listen to what they have to say.


Don't miss 'Stories From the Gulf': tune in Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on Planet Green. Find Planet Green on your TV.


Stories From the Gulf (official trailer)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY3_-ZNZS0o

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

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+19 # Capn Canard 2011-04-23 11:31
Unfortunately the handful of greedy people always win. That is the story of America from 1776 to the present, it is always greed and profit that comes first, second, and last. From the top, the local communities will get nothing but the bill to pay for the clean up and BP will pocket nothing but profit. It is the American Way! U-S-A!
 
 
+4 # tomo 2011-04-23 21:04
"This is the story of America from 1776 to the present." Capn Canard, you do well to date the problem so far back. I think one can date it back even another century--into the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony. There was never an intent to treat the indigenous people as equals. Winthop and the other Puritans would have been accepting of the Indians if the Indians had been willing to abandon their own faiths and bow to the invaders as their lords and masters. When this did not happen, the Christian settlers played Cain to Indian Abel, thinking somehow they could thereby establish a new Eden.

The project was pathetically self-contradict ory--flawed and compromised at its core. Our highly exceptional forebears simply wrapped themselves in the Book of Revelation, and it's been "Onward!" for some confused and unrecognizable Christian soldiers ever since. (Yes; when newcomers from other lands and with other faiths arrived, they too had often been attracted by the same music, and quickly learned to march to the beat of the same drum.)

To make any progress today, we have to go back and think anew about what Eden requires.
 
 
+9 # Barbara Slavinsky 2011-04-23 12:33
I still can't understand why there is not a huge effort to provide many new lines train and subway systems of transportation in big cites,and suburbs, to begin a new infrastructure that could stop the every more sprawling giant highways.
Traffic congestion
Pollution
Need for jobs, now for building
Need for jobs, now and for later running and maintenance,
Global warming
Oil consumption.

It's just not been mentioned as an important way to cut down on damaging oil consumption, while providing a great service to the citizens.
We should not need to own cars!
 
 
+6 # Suzan 2011-04-23 14:46
Barbara,

You still don't understood bought-and-paid -for public representatives?

And also a very misled or stoopid public?

Sorry to be so cynical, but it's getting very hard to miss these days.

S

still can't understand why there is not a huge effort to provide many new lines train and subway systems of transportation in big cites,and suburbs, to begin a new infrastructure that could stop the every more sprawling giant highways.
 
 
+5 # Dave Parsons 2011-04-23 17:36
'Oil. Oil powers the car you drive to work, powers the truck that brings your food to the grocery. It's the raw material of the western lifestyle. We send people to die in the Middle East, pollute the Gulf and deny that it's a problem. We wanted change in 2008. We know it's necessary but our leaders can't seem to even talk about it. I will keep talking and pushing for change.
 
 
+2 # Watcher 2011-04-24 15:46
We send "our boys" to SLAUGHTER millions of innocent people... men, women and babies... IN OUR NAME~!
We let our "leaders" (who needs a "leader" unlesss they are a sheep?), poison the Gulf.. and now we.. our own people are DYING.
If Karma is a fact of living, we are in deep deep doo doo.
 
 
+9 # theshift33 2011-04-23 18:13
4.9M barrels BP oil released B4 well capped 87days later! (Halliburtons job).
BP uses 1.9M Gals. of toxic dispersants
to sink oil in an effort, they claim to keep oil from reaching shore. Critics believe disps were also used to hide the oil & lower BP fines. 8-2010 team from Univ.GA estimate 70-79% not recovered. Recent reports estimate closer to 90%. 290 dolphin corpses & newborns have washed ashore + scores of turtles. BP ignores EPA order to quit using disps in 5-2010. US CoastG overlooks EPA order & provides BP with 74 exemptions in 48 days. Acute neurotoxic effects of disps are central nervous sys depression, respiratory arrest & death. Disps are banned in 19 countries + UK. Dolphins & turtles are at the top of the food chain & directly reflect what is happening to the marine environment. TransO gives CEO 374,062 bonus for safety performance. BP plans to start drilling 10 Gulf wells this summer after being granted permission by US regulators. BP sues TransO, Cameron Int'l & Halliburton April 2010. Former VP Dk Cheney once headed Halliburton with controversy over gov contracts Halliburton received for the War in Iraq. When will US citizens have had enough!!
 
 
+6 # Don Pratt 2011-04-23 19:18
But please don't neglect...
Mountaintop removal is still our ongoing version of the Gulf Oil spill.
 
 
+2 # theshift33 2011-04-23 19:55
Thank you Don. A good reminder of the all encompassing environmental issues. I read last month that there is a bill to start mining uranium in the Grand Canyon. Germany has nixed nuclear altogether and China is switching to thorium which is still a challenge to store but is much safer. I don't look for the US to switch to thorium as it's end product is not plutonium. With our penchant for war after war after war the US needs plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The military industrial complex in conjunction with the coal, nuclear, oil and utility corporations manuever the politics of all this right under our noses and it seems we as well as Obama are more powerless by the minute to do anything about it.
 
 
+2 # historywriter 2011-04-24 15:08
Companies are trying to start mining in northern Minnesota, not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a wilderness area. This is what Friends of the BWCa say:
Mining for copper, nickel and other metals creates acid mine drainage which contaminates lakes, rivers, and groundwater and harms human health, fish, wildlife, and damages entire ecosystems
The effects have been demonstrated in other states which allowed mining. 3 mining companies, at least one of which is already drilling around the clock, say they can control this so it doesn't hurt the environment. Do you believe that?
I am so glad I was in the BWCA in the late 1960s and early 70s, when it was still fairly pristine. I wouldn't drink the water out of any of the lakes now. Imagine going north for the silence and nearly untouched woods, lakes, rivers, and so on, and listening to drilling all night long.
 
 
+6 # antineocon 2011-04-23 21:46
have you noticed the huge number of propaganda ads ion the TV from BP saying how great everything is and how great BP is helping people. Just more Corporate crap which is something like what is on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
 
 
0 # Activista 2011-04-24 10:31
Everything is under control - BP money and BP lawyers. And "research" - there are enough scientists to report what BP is paying them to report (greed is american cancer).
This goes to US government agencies - now that republicans are cutting environment.
 
 
+1 # shortonfaith 2011-04-24 22:19
As per all things America your best outcry is to stop supporting companies that harm without remorse. BP America is Arco. Stop supporting Arco an any other company that is associated with BP. Do this with every company your can. Not only stop buying from them & be vocal about it. Spread the word to others. Those who can do it correctly don't deserve your support in any way. Those companies that sit on the BP board don't deserve your support either. Make them pay up or move out. I can believe anyone from the Gulf states buys gas from BP in any form until they start making people whole & bring life back into the gulf. Get active with your dollars, it's the only voice they hear.
 

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