As a native New Orleanian, I have never known a time when gas and oil were not at least a small part of my life. From the refineries along the Mississippi River to the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico (often a great place to dock for deep sea fishing), the Oil Industry has greatly effected New Orleans in many ways. Though it brings revenue into the city, the industry has never been very kind to our wetland environment; Past destruction from laying pipe and dredging canals to quickly deliver oil drilled from off-shore rigs in pipes and on boats has left the natural barrier that protects the Gulf Coast severely damaged and unable to recover. To give an idea of how important these wetlands are for New Orleans, for every three miles of wetlands, a storm surge is diminished by one foot.
The news of the oil spill caused by Deepwater Horizon has been a sore subject for the citizens of the Gulf Coast. As we continue to rebuild the devastation left behind from Hurricane Katrina we now face a new challenge. With no immediate end to the oil spill in sight and the fear of irreversible damage to the seafood industry, the city of New Orleans is indeed in a time of turmoil.
All we can hope at this point is that this disaster will serve as a wake up call for the nation. With the growing threat of climate change, this could be a turning point in how the environment is valued and protected.
What changes would you like to see in regards to the environmental impact of the oil industry?