Archive | Environment

Fish Kills Worry Gulf Scientists, Fishers, Environmentalists

Dead fish wash up at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Credit:Erika Blumenfeld/IPS

Dead fish wash up at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Credit:Erika Blumenfeld/IPS

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi – Another massive fish kill, this time in Louisiana, has alarmed scientists, fishers and environmentalists who believe they are caused by oil and dispersants.

On Aug. 22, St. Bernard Parish authorities reported a huge fish kill at the mouth of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

“By our estimates there were thousands – and I’m talking about 5,000 to 15,000 – dead fish,” St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro told reporters. “Different species were found dead, including crabs, sting rays, eel, drum, speckled trout, red fish, you name it, included in that kill.”

The next day, a thick, orange substance with tar balls and a “strong diesel smell” was discovered around Grassy Island, near the fish kill, according to a news release.

Taffaro admitted that there was oil in the area, but cautioned against assuming it was the cause of the fish kill.

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Dahr Discusses Gulf Coast Fishing Industry on Democracy Now!

The Obama administration announced last week that it is safe to eat fish and shrimp caught in the 78 percent of federal waters in the Gulf that are now reopened to fishing. But many are still concerned about the levels of toxins in the water and the impact on marine life. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail has been reporting from the Gulf Coast for over a month now. Last week he spoke to some commercial fishermen in Mississippi who are refusing to trawl because of the oil and dispersants that are still in the water.

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How Has it Come to This?

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

The scene is post-apocalyptic. Under a grey sky, two families play in the surf just off the beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana. To get to the beach, we walk past a red, plastic barrier fence that until very recently was there to keep people away from the oil-soaked area. Now, there are a few openings that beach goers can use. The fence is left largely intact, I presume, for when they will need to close the beach again when the next invasion of BP’s oil occurs.

A father jokingly throws sand at his little boy who laughs while dodging it. This, against a background of oil rigs and platforms looming in the Gulf. In the foreground, littering the beach, are tar balls. We stroll through the area, eyeing even more tar balls that bob lazily underwater, amidst sand ripples in the shallows … they are in the same location where the father sits, grabbing handfuls of sand to toss near his son. Continue Reading →

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind (Even when it’s not out of sight)

Story by Dahr Jamail
Photography by Erika Blumenfeld

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Since BP announced that CEO Tony Hayward would receive a multi-million dollar golden parachute and be replaced by Bob Dudley, we have witnessed an incredibly broad, and powerful, propaganda campaign. A campaign that peaked this week with the US government, clearly acting in BP’s best interests, itself announcing, via outlets willing to allow themselves to be used to transfer the propaganda, like the New York Times, this message: “The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.”

The Times was accommodating enough to lead the story with a nice photo of a fishing boat motoring across clean water with several birds in the foreground.

This message was disseminated far and wide, via other mainstream media outlets like the AP and Reuters, effectively announcing to the masses that despite the Gulf of Mexico suffering the largest marine oil disaster in US history, most of the oil was simply “gone.”

Thus, it’s only what is on the surface that counts. If you can’t see it, there is not a problem.

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