Pardners, I gotta admit... I am a bit confused.
I mean, isn't the gulf oil spill the biggest ecological disaster of our time? It is, that's a fact.
I spent the day in Venice, Louisiana. One of the areas hardest hit by this tragedy. Venice is world renown for off shore sport fishing. Of course their way of life down here will never be quite the same. The captains are out of work, for years at a minimum. Only time will tell how the gulf will recover.
My confusion lies in the issue that not much of shit is happening down here. I mean, I just can't figure out what in the world is going on. There are three hotels in all of Venice, and they are booked solid. BP has commandeered all of the rooms in town, but at the marina's only restaurant, there were 8 people at the dinner rush. It feels like a ghost town.
Granted, there is a whole army of police rolling around. Though by the looks of things, I can't be certain as to why?
The boat captains have all been put on salary as part of BP's compensation package, and they get paid whether their boat leaves the dock or not, so much of the time they are forced to sit around the marina shootin the breeze. Once in awhile they will get the call to ferry some BP dudes, or the coast guard fellows here or there. It is a bit of an insult to their skill set, and potentially harmful to their boats. But it is their new job. I gotta admit, some of them were stoked with their new digs, easy money, and guaranteed income. ...For a finite period anyway. Many of these guys were worried that as BP got the cap on the well today, that they would start pulling out, and one of the first things they would cut would be the captains salaries. Can't say that I blame their suspicions!
Let's just note that even if the leak is stopped, there will be plenty of work to be done around here. You think BP will step up and handle it?
More intrinsic to my mission was what I witnessed as far as wildlife rescue. Let me begin by telling you that it is a federal felony, carrying jail time and a $40,000 fine to handle any at risk wildlife with out a permit. The only people that are being issued any permits are the fish and wildlife dept. Not marine biologists, scientists, zoologists, or any other highly qualified personnel. This is insane! And if qualified personnel were to be issued permits, the process takes two years! As far as I am concerned, we need every pair of possible and willing hands getting dirty, every pair of eyes scanning the sea, and every boat in the water to make rescues. I talked with two girls today that have been volunteering for the audubon society by overseeing the transportation of recovered birds from the docks to the proper authorities. Thus far, in their three days of duty, they have seen three birds come in. One of them was alive. I witnessed the other two today. They were dead. As the birds came in there was a chain of evidence paper trail to be filled out, but nobody really knew the proper procedure. It took four peoples signatures to get the birds from the boat into the van for transport. One dude brought the birds from the boat, then some official guy with a radio had to verify that they were in fact birds, then the volunteer girls, and finally into the hands of the transport driver. Economy of energy?
Well I will say this... The lack of organization may just make it a lil bit easier to slip through the cracks.