Blog - BPs Oil Drilling Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 11:33
Included in this blog are two sets of photos of Elmer’s Island. The first set is from the summer of 2010 and includes aerial shots of the island and heavy oil impacts. The second set includes surface level shots that were taken this past weekend on November 12th, 2011. As you will see from the second set, the oil was buried under the sand on the island.
Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge, a barrier Island on the Louisiana coast, was heavily impacted by BP’s oil. The island, a 230-acre tract of barrier beachfront located on the southwestern tip of Jefferson Parish, is owned and maintained by the state of Louisiana. It is located directly across Caminada Pass from Grand Isle, LA.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced the reopening of the six-mile long section of beach on Friday, May 27, 2011. The island is a popular local and tourist destination that is known as a surf fishing and birding haven. CNN ran a story about the island in April of 2011, before it was reopened to the public.
I had the occasion more than once to fly over Elmer’s in 2010 during the height of the BP drilling disaster. Thanks to a donation of a great camera and lens by the Wallace Global Fund and the support of generous sponsors, especially Jo Billups, I was able to document impacts all throughout the Gulf. Take a look at these aerial photos from Elmer’s Island last year.
Fast forward to November, 2011 and you will find that the oil is still on the island. Despite the fact that the island has been declared “clean” by BP and the State, and was reopened to the public in May of this year, major problems still persist. Check out the photos below to see that oil is buried beneath the surface sand. In September of this year, Tropical storm Lee exposed oil along the Gulf coast which had been buried by sand washing in with the tide on a daily basis and during other tropical events.
Fox8 New Orleans interviewed me after this trip and I sent them photos and video. You can check out their report here which aired Sunday night. Now that you have seen the photos, you might be asking yourself, “What can I do?” It’s simple: Take action by sending a letter to your member of Congress today. We have made it easy for you in a way that you can simply click on a link and have a letter sent. We have an unprecedented opportunity to fund the recovery of the Gulf coast using BP’s Clean Water Act fines - the RESTORE Act aims to direct 80% of these fines towards ecosystem restoration. There are currently two versions of the bill, in the House and Senate, which aim to bring BP’s money down to the Gulf. Urge your lawmakers to support this legislation.
Jonathan Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for GRN.