Mad In Mississippi

05/17/10 Tom Baur
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They’re Mad in Mississippi.

50 miles south of Ocean Springs, Mississippi BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion un-corked a demon in the Gulf of Mexico. Minute by minute, gigantic plumes of death enlarge as thousands of gallons per minute of toxic chemicals erupt and feed them. All along the gulf coast the BP Blowout has ignited fear and anger.

Disaster, destruction, and despair are just a few of those “Been there, done that” things. They’ve got the tattoos, piercings and memories to hang on the wall. What’s left of it, from the hurricanes that blew through a few years back. But, the BP Blowout? That’s another story.

Director Steve Shepard of the Sierra Club Gulf Coast Chapter had a grim assessment of the environmental situation.

The Steps Coalition of Mississippi held a Federal Agencies Community Information Session at the Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Outside, the air was perfumed with confederate jasmine and southern magnolia. Inside, the idea was to raise a stink and get straight answers from the officials in charge. Although she got his name wrong, event co-ordinator Linda St Martin aimed the first question to BP’s Darryl Willett.

Casey DeMoss-Roberts, Assistant Director of Water Resources at Gulf Restoration Network, is frustrated that BP is in charge of the oil spill disaster response.

Linda St Martin considers Florida Governor Charlie Crist a hero. Just a few months ago Crist wanted to expand drilling near Florida’s sensitive coastline. But, said St Martin, after a flight over the BP Blowout scene Crist immediately changed his position and is now against drilling near Florida. St Martin has little praise for anyone else in charge.

The crowd of around 100 was subdued most of the evening. Then applause broke out when a fisherman stood up and asked when he and the other watermen in the area will get hired for the clean-up work. And, will they be compensated for lost income.

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