Residents along the Gulf Coast are facing new dilemmas. They have watched neighbors, friends and even family members who own seafood restaurants anywhere from the Florida to Louisiana coasts struggle during the Summer of the Spill. Many have closed their doors, unable to absorb the losses while others are living on a prayer and faith in the efforts of the four states to entice tourists to vacation anywhere along the coast. The dilemma is that while everyone wants to see that
tourist energy spring back to life, many are questioning the reasons why both the EPA and NOAA keep insisting the seafood is safe for consumption. Both agencies, along with the scientists on BP’s payroll, have been adamant in their declarations that the shrimp, oysters, crabs and salt water fish harbor no threats. The hesitance in believing these across-the-board statements has merit.
It’s difficult to trust any of the government agencies at this point; after all, the Coast Guard repeatedly allowed BP to continue dumping millions of barrels of dispersants after orders came down from the Obama Administration to cease the practice of raining these poisons into the Gulf waters. There were precious few exceptions and would require the Coast Guard’s approval. Apparently, the agency was feeling quite generous since it’s now been discovered it allowed BP to empty these chemicals on a daily basis. The suspicions are legitimate. In fact, a Mobile, AL television station conducted a poll during the first week in August. The question was simple: do coastal residents believe the seafood is safe to eat? The results showed 56% say it’s not safe. This poll tells the tale; knowing better than anyone the importance of reaffirming faith in the Gulf seafood industry, these residents struggle with owning up to their fears.
Further complicating matters is the sense of finality that seems to be catching on. News media are reporting the end is in sight, signaled by quickly shrinking oil sheets floating atop the Gulf waters. Many from the various government agencies, along with BP, say the suggestions of massive underwater oil plumes have no merit. Others say they do exist and by not addressing them and acknowledging their existence, the potential for dangerous repercussions is high.
Everyone is working towards a solution; however, no one is willing to risk public safety any further in an effort to secure that solution. The time for transparency and the absence of ulterior motives has arrived. Unfortunately, too many are still being directed by fear and the bottom line and as a result, the disappointment and disgust continues to grow.