We're coming up on the second anniversary of the BP spill, and the specter of that flaming rig, oiled pelicans, and a sullied Gulf seems to be dimming by the day. Unless, of course, you happened to have your life ruined by the disaster; in that case, it's not as easy to watch the BP-sponsored TV ads that paint the region as back to its happy, sunny self and assume the hardship is over.
Bloomberg News has a great roundup of the myriad ways that the fallout from the catastropher is still deeply impacting the Gulf economy. Businesses, especially those in the seafood industry, have been ruined. The oyster market has been "destroyed". Fishermen and distributors must trawl further than ever for shrimp, populations of which have been wiped out.
Tourism took a hit during the year of the spill, but has since fared better. 2010, in fact, was New Orleans' best year for tourism since Hurricane Katrina hit the city five years before.
BP has been charged with so many counts of wrongdoing that I'm sure the Bloomberg report merely scratches the surface. This kind of thing is typical:
BP rutted nine miles of fragile shoreline with earth-moving equipment and altered erosion patterns with sandbag dams and sheet-metal pilings intended to keep oil out of the marshes ... The coastal ecosystem is both a marine-life nursery and critical physical barrier protecting Louisiana’s “underbelly” from hurricane storm surges, according to court papers.The manager of that beachfront property is suing BP—because the company never bothered to come back and clean up the mess it left. Elsewhere, BP has abandoned cleanup altogether, giant tar balls are still washing ashore, and complaints appear to be falling on deaf ears. In the most egregious case, BP has refused to address the claims of one of the workers who nearly lost his life in the rig explosion, which shattered his knee and covered him in severe burns.
Reading over the whole Bloomberg report really is worthwhile—it's a stirring reminder of the scars left by reckless drilling and corporate malfeasance.