The Worst Environmental Disaster in America

I knew something had happened when I came home from school, and my dad was home before 6:00.

Usually, my dad barely makes it home in time for dinner, and now here he is home before I am. I asked him why he was home so early and he looked me in the eyes and said, “I think it’s safe to say that you can get used to me being home a lot.” At the time, I was unaware that my dad would be jobless with no income. My dad’s seafood business was destroyed after the tragic BP oil spill on April 20, 2010. This event was the result of an oilrig explosion 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The oil spill spewed out for 87 days letting out more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico making it the largest oil spill in U.

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S. history. The oil spill crippled the seafood industry by killing oyster beds and shutting down fishing grounds for all fisheries including shrimping and crabbing. Because of the poisonous oil that was spilled in the gulf killing everything in its way and the substantial loss of jobs, generation after generation will suffer from the devastation that was caused by the BP oil spill. Approximately 1 million jobs were lost as a result of the BP Oil Spill, causing many families financial hardship.

There have been almost 100,000 businesses that have claimed to be damaged by the oil spill; 405,000 individuals made this claim. Only one quarter of the people who claimed to be permanently affected have been paid in full. Many claims were denied or delayed causing a widespread complaint of how BP was financially compensating businesses and individuals. Even though some people did receive large amounts compensation, no money can make up for the long-term effects of the tragic BP oil spill. That being said, Louisiana traditions, culture, and jobs have been destroyed leaving innocent people defenseless. Furthermore, many people in Louisiana have made a living off of the seafood industry in the Gulf of Mexico for generations.

Now that the oil spill has killed a substantial amount of seafood in the gulf, there is no seafood to catch and sell. With no seafood to catch many fishermen, oystermen, and shrimpers are jobless. A large percent of seafood in the United States comes from Louisiana. Louisiana seafood workers clean, sell, and transport seafood all across America to restaurants, companies, and homes. As a result of the oil spill, many businesses have been shut down causing seafood prices across the United States to drastically increase. Also, seafood businesses that have financially supported families from generation to generation have been terminated.

In the confront his household, Brandt Lafrance stated, “Never before would I have imagined that such a vibrant and productive coastal estuary could be impacted in such a way that it would threaten a way of life that has existed for four generations.” This ends family traditions and cultures that shaped Louisiana’s Cajun lifestyle. Louisiana will permanently suffer from the BP oil spill, and generations to come will not be able to continue working with the seafood industry. The gulf’s wildlife was greatly damaged when 200 million barrels of oil was gushed out into the water. The oil spill killed any and all wildlife it reached with its toxic chemicals. The oil covered approximately 600 miles of the coastline and stretched into marshes, wetlands, and inland waterways.

Once the oil explosion was over, all of the oil sank to the bottom of the gulf’s floor leaving a thick coating of poison to sit where many water creatures once lived. So, not only did it kill animals, but also it poisoned oyster beds, crab habitats, and shrimp nurseries making it impossible for the seafood industry in the gulf to come back. About 3 months after the spill, all oyster supplies were either contaminated or exhausted. Expert Nick Gee wrote, “Hydrocarbons from the oil are likely to remain in the coastal sediments for several years, and could get into sensitive wetland ecosystems on the coast” (Gee 1). He states this fact to prove how the long-term effects will remain, which can overall alter the whole ecosystem.

Experts say that it will take years and years for the food chain to rebuild itself and measure up to the damage caused by the spill. Although drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico caused the BP oil spill, Louisiana and the whole United States greatly depends on the oil industry for revenue and fossil fuels. According to expert Sarfaraz A. Khan, “BP has finally reached on an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)” (BP returns 1). Since this agreement, companies such as BP have been forced to increase their safety measures in the hopes of preventing such a spill of this magnitude of ever happening again. New exploration was banned in the Gulf of Mexico until companies could prove that they could drill for oil without endangering workers lives and protecting the environment in which they drill in.

The fact is that the economy depends on the oil industry to succeed and be able to deliver fossil fuel safely and responsibly until alternative energy sources are able to keep up with the demand. Generation after generation will suffer from the devastation that was caused by the BP oil spill because of the poisonous oil that was spilled in the gulf and the substantial loss of jobs. Seafood business owners, oil company workers, and commercial fishermen will always suffer from the effects of the BP oil spill. Their jobs will permanently be damaged and most will if not terminated will take a long time to recover. Also, the wildlife that inhabits in the area contaminated by the oil is still suffering from the oil spill.

If the creatures and vegetation was not killed from the initial poison than the chemicals will soon eat up the remains. A thick layer of oil sits on the bottom of the gulf’s floor suffocating and killing any wildlife that is left. Even though they BP oil spill was a horrific event caused by drilling for oil, the oil industry is needed to continue to have a successful economy. Every exploration has risk, but safety precautions and responsibilities need to be taken. No amount of money, ways of cleaning, or new jobs can make up for the extreme loss and devastation caused by the BP oil spill.